Buffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta was suspended five games by the NHL today for his hit on New York Rangers center Brad Richards
According to USA Today, Kaleta shoved Richards from behind with about three minutes left in the third period. Richards, who was a few feet away from the boards at the time, ended up sliding into the wall after he was hit by Kaleta. Richards was on the ice for several minutes before making his way off the ice.
The Rangers were able to put two goals during the five minute power play for the hit and ended up winning the game in a shootout.
Rangers coach John Tortorella said:
“I’m glad we made them pay … It’s disgusting. It’s a lack of respect. Each team wants to beat the other team, but you have to respect what’s going on, on the ice.”
“It’s just stupidity. If we’re all going to look at each other’s numbers, ram each other from behind headfirst into the boards, it’s going to be a tough game to play. It’s not hockey. I don’t know what game he plays, actually. He doesn’t play hockey to begin with. It’s the same guy all the time.”
NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan said that Kaleta’s hit wasn’t particularly hard but that it was a “dangerous distance” from the boards. Shanahan also noted that Kaleta was in complete control at the time of the hit and could have easily chosen a safer action.
“In spite of the fact that Kaleta doesn’t shove Richards with great force, he does so at a dangerous distance from the boards … Kaleta is full control of this play and has ample opportunity to make a better decision.”
According to the NY Times, Kaleta received a five game suspension due to his previous league infractions. He was suspended for two games in 2009 for boarding, fined for a head butting incident in October of 2010, and was suspended four games in November 2011 for another head-butting incident.
The league considers Kaleta a repeat offender due to the fact that his most recent suspension comes less than 18 months from his previous 2011 suspension.
Here’s the video of Patrick Kaleta’s hit.
USA Today reports that since Kaleta is a repeat offender he will see a greater financial loss. Instead of forfeiting 1/99th of his $1.25 million salary for each game of his suspension, Kaleta will have to give up 1/48th of his salary every game, or $76,219.25.