The NHL levied a heavy penalty on Buffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta, hitting the repeat offender with a 10-game suspension for his illegal check to the head of Columbia Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson. He had an in-person hearing with the league Tuesday afternoon and has already served two games of the suspension
The length matches the league's suspension handed out earlier to Toronto's David Clarkson, but that was for leaving the bench to start a fight.
Brendan Shanahan, the NHL's chief disciplinarian, said in his video explanation that there would have been supplemental discipline assessed "no matter who delivered this hit." But weighing heavily into the long suspension is the fact that Kaleta has been fined three times and suspended three other times in his career.
In preseason, enforcer Paul Bissonette of the Coyotes received a 10-game suspension -- also for leaving the bench to join an altercation -- but that was reduced to three games after an appeal. The Bissonette incident happened against the Kings on Sept. 15.
As for Kaleta, there was no penalty called on the play, which occurred early in the first period in a game between Buffalo and Columbus on Oct. 10. Johnson, a former King, did not leave the game and did not appear to suffer an injury.
Kaleta will lose $152,439 in salary. The funds will go to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.
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