NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on Thursday upheld the league’s 10-game suspension of Buffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta, who had filed an appeal of the sanction imposed for his illegal check to the head of Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson.
Kaleta, who has been fined or suspended by the NHL six times before, has the right to take his case to a neutral arbitrator within the next week. He had stated his appeal to Bettman on Monday at the league’s New York offices.
The 10-game suspension was imposed by Brendan Shanahan, the NHL’s vice president of player safety.
Bettman’s decision noted Kaleta’s many previous infractions and said the hit could have been avoided. He also said the Sabres’ contention that Kaleta was merely performing his duties in Buffalo’s system did not excuse Kaleta from obeying Rule 48 regarding illegal hits to the head.
The full text of Bettman's ruling is worth a read.
And in what has — sadly — become almost a daily occurrence, the NHL has offered Buffalo forward John Scott an in-person hearing with representatives of the Department of Player Safety to discuss the illegal blow he delivered to the head of Boston forward Loui Eriksson on Wednesday. Scott got a match penalty for an illegal check to the head.
An in-person hearing means the suspension can exceed five games.
San Jose defenseman Dan Boyle, who suffered a head injury after being hit in the head by St. Louis forward Maxim Lapierre last week, resumed skating with his team on Thursday. Lapierre is serving a five-game suspension.
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