Brendan Shanahan, the NHL's vice president of hockey and business development and director of player safety, came down hard on Buffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta Tuesday, handing him a 10-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of Columbus Blue Jackets forward Jack Johnson on Thursday.
Buffalo's team Twitter account announced the suspension on Tuesday afternoon following the in-person meeting:
Patrick Kaleta has been suspended 10 games, per @NHLPlayerSafety.— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) October 15, 2013
UPDATE: Wednesday, Oct. 16, at 4:15 p.m. ET
From Bob McKenzie of TSN.ca:
Patrick Kaleta, after conferring with his agent and the NHLPA, will be appealing his 10-game suspension.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 16, 2013
---End of Update---
NHL Player Safety on Twitter had this post and shared a video explaining the suspension:
The incident took place just minutes into the first period and eventually sparked a fight between Kaleta and Columbus forward Jared Boll, and both players were sent off the ice.
Kaleta left the game but eventually returned, and he reportedly needed to have dental work afterward, per Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News. Johnson, meanwhile, stayed in the game and led all of his teammates with 23:13 of ice time.
The hefty suspension will also cost Kaleta a good chunk of change. Dan Rosen of NHL.com has more details:
In addition to the 10 games, Kaleta has to forfeit $152,439 in salary. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) October 15, 2013
Even though Kaleta hasn't registered a point in five contests this year, it's another blow to a Sabres team that has stumbled to an 0-6-1 start to the 2013 campaign. Dave Hodge of TSN shared his thoughts on the suspension:
Patrick Kaleta suspended 10 games: Buffalo Sabres' season goes from worse to bad.— Dave Hodge - TSN (@TSNDaveHodge) October 15, 2013
This is just the latest run-in for Kaleta, who has been suspended four times since 2009. The 10-game ban is twice as long as the five-game suspension he received in March for a hit he put on New York Rangers center Brad Richards.
Kaleta's history and status as a repeat offender is a large reason why he was given such a lengthy ban, according to the NHL Player Safety video explanation.
The earliest Kaleta can return is Nov. 2 against the Anaheim Ducks. Until then, the 27-year-old will have plenty of time to think about the next time he takes a quick hit at an opponent's head.