November 27, 2009
Things began on Wednesday night when Kaleta took a hit from Alex Ovechkin(notes) of the Washington Capitals in the third period and went face first into the boards at Verizon Center. Ovechkin was given a five-minute major for boarding, a 10-minute game misconduct and ejected from the game. (Strangely enough, Ovechkin's only other ejection also came against the Sabres after a late hit on Danny Briere(notes).)
Capitals beat writer Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post reported today that the NHL spun its "Wheel of Justice" and it landed on "zero games" for Ovechkin. The only punishment doled out to him was the hefty $200 fine given to all players who receive game misconduct penalties.
This afternoon when the Sabres visited the Flyers, Kaleta handed out a controversial hit to Philadelphia rookie Jared Ross:
Kaleta was give a 5-minute major for boarding, a 10-minute misconduct and ejected from the game. Does he deserve supplemental discipline?
As we've said before, there's no sense guessing because predicting whether or not a hit warrants supplemental discipline from the NHL is a fool's game as we've seen time and time again. After watching the play numerous times, Kaleta isn't skating in at a high speed and the moment he commits to making the check, Ross' body is turned away from the boards. It's midway through Kaleta's check that Ross turns his body towards the boards, causing the ugliness of the hit which was very similar to the Michael Liambas hit on Ben Fanelli from the OHL a few weeks back.
After the game, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren wasn't calling for a suspension:
“It’s a little bit of a tactic now, where players will turn toward the boards and draw a penalty,” general manager Paul Holmgren said. “I don’t think Jared was trying to do that. But it’s certainly a dangerous area, and [the hit] is going to lead to a lot of discussion.”
Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff defended Kaleta's hit:
"[Ross] knew he was coming," Ruff said. "He took a quick look right before, and then he turned. The difference there is it was a young player called up, he knows he's going to get hit on a heavy forecheck, and at the last second you're asking our player to hit the brakes."
As Matt from The 700 Level wrote, a controversial hit from Kaleta, a player with a reputation, and an end result of Ross leaving the game injured has typically added up to a suspension from the NHL. Buffalo hosts Carolina tomorrow night so any decision would have to be made rather quickly.
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