Patrick Kaleta and the 9 Worst Repeat Offenders in the NHL
As the NHL attempts to eliminate unnecessary violence from the game, the phrase "repeat offender" has become a hot term.
Patrick Kaleta was suspend five games for this hit on New York's Brad Richards, a hit that may not have drawn a suspension if Kaleta weren't already on the league's hit list for his headbutting tendencies.
Kaleta has become one of hockey's poster boys for the need for disciplinary action as the league is cracking down on headshots and dangerous boarding plays, among other acts of aggression.
So who are hockey's big offenders? Who has caught the league's eyes in the past? Who carries around the reputation of being one of hockey's major aggressors?
This list features the most volatile players in the game today, who have gone on streaks of aggression that have gotten themselves in trouble. If Brendan Shanahan still had speed dial, these guys would be on it.
Kaleta is just the most recent example of hockey's problem with repeat offenders.
By shoving Brad Richards when he was in a vulnerable position, Kaleta put another player in danger. It seems like the only time Kaleta's name is mentioned is when he is committing an act like this.
He was suspended five games for the hit, largely due to the fact that he is a repeat offender.
Raffi Torres could be the most notorious member of this list.
His most recent and well-known offense was a postseason charge on Marian Hossa that earned the Phoenix forward one of the longest suspensions in league history, 25 games. Though the sentence was later reduced to 21 games, Torres nonetheless cemented his legacy as a catastrophe waiting to happen.
Prior to the infamous Hossa hit, Torres had been suspended two games for a head shot on Nate Prosser in late 2011 and four games for a hit to the head of Edmonton's Jordan Eberle before the 2011 playoffs.
If his bad behavior doesn't change, Torres will be seen as a liability and will soon find himself out of a job in the NHL.
The big, burly defenseman may be at a disadvantage because opposing players find their heads at shoulder level by default, but Pronger rarely made an effort to adjust his physicality to avoid a headshot. He was especially dangerous along the boards in the defensive zone.
As a member of the Stanley Cup-winning Ducks team in 2007, Pronger received two one-game suspensions in the postseason for dangerous hits. The following year, Pronger received a whopping eight-game suspension for using his skate to stomp on the ankle of Vancouver's Ryan Kesler.
In the course of his career, Pronger has missed 22 games due to suspension.
Matt Cooke did not intend to slice Erik Karlsson's Achilles tendon, but his bad reputation has led many people to question whether this harmless accident could have been a subtle cheap shot.
Let's face it, if Karlsson's injury were perpetrated by almost anyone else in the league, we would call it unintentional. But Matt Cooke isn't just anybody.
Cooke has been handed suspensions for hits on players like Artem Anisimov, Fedor Tyutin and Ryan McDonagh, but his bad reputation comes from the permanent mark he made on the career of Marc Savard.
Cooke's headshot on Savard specifically targeted the head and the head alone coming from Savard's blind side, a hit that was not technically illegal at the time and thus did not earn Cooke a suspension. However, there is no arguing that Cooke's hit was vicious and completely unnecessary, and as a result, there are now rules against it.
Dan Carcillo is exactly what a team looks for when it needs aggression that comes in a small, mobile package, but this capable role player comes with a big caveat.
Carcillo can draw penalties and throw off opponents, but he can also get himself in major trouble. While playing for the Philadelphia Flyers, Carcillo picked a "fight" with Matt Bradley that resulted in a nine-minute power play for the Washington Capitals and a four-game suspension for Carcillo.
More recently as a member of the Blackhawks, Carcillo got seven games for boarding Tom Gilbert of Edmonton. The suspension was practically unnecessary, though, as Car Bomb tore his own ACL in the process.
The diminutive St. Louis centerman seems an unlikely candidate to be a repeat offender, but Scott Nichol has been slapped with three significant suspensions since the 2004-05 lockout.
Prior to that, Nichol got five games for an illegal cross-check to Patrice Brisebois and a whopping nine-game suspension for sucker-punching Buffalo's Jaroslav Spacek after a battle around the Buffalo net.
He was an early repeat offender after the policy took place following the lockout, and still has a mean streak even at 38 years old.
Steve Downie might as well have been a repeat offender before he actually played in the NHL.
The Flyers parted ways with Downie the following season, and he found himself flirting with trouble in his days as a member of the Lightning, as well. He was fined for leaving the bench in the middle of a fight on the technicality that the action may have been a part of a legal line change.
That seems to be the exact opposite of the message you'd want to send to a repeat offender.
We'll let James Wisniewski off the hook for his two-game suspension after making an obscene gesture toward Sean Avery, as the act didn't actually put anyone in danger, but Wisniewski is nonetheless one of hockey's loose cannons.
Wisniewski was the subject of one of Brendan Shanahan's first disciplinary videos when he blindsided Cal Clutterbuck in a preseason game, earning Wisniewski a ban for the remainder of the preseason and the first eight games of the regular season.
The hit resulted in the second eight-game ban of Wisniewski's career, adding to a 2007 suspension when Wisniewski, then a member of the Anaheim Ducks, knocked Brent Seabrook out cold (standing up) with an elbow to the head.
Andy Sutton is a force to be reckoned with on the blue line, standing 6'6" without skates and weighing in around 250 pounds. When he gets a cheap shot in on another player, it can be very dangerous.
He became a repeat offender less than two months later when he went full force into Alexei Ponikarovsky along the boards, leaving his feet to make contact with Ponikarovsky. Why someone of Sutton's size would ever need to leave his feet is a mystery, and the league had no problem slapping Sutton with an eight-game suspension.