NHL upholds 10-game ban for Kaleta

By
Updated: October 24, 2013

New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) – The National Hockey League has denied
Patrick Kaleta’s appeal of his 10-game suspension.

The Buffalo Sabres forward was issued the ban by NHL senior vice president of
player safety Brendan Shanahan nine days ago, for his actions in a game
against Columbus on Oct. 10.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman heard Kaleta’s case at league offices in New
York on Monday, and issued a 17-page ruling explaining his actions on
Thursday.

“I do not credit Mr. Kaleta’s testimony that he ‘tried ducking out of the
check.’ To the contrary, the video evidence demonstrates that Mr. Kaleta
followed through on the check and made no attempt to avoid it,” said Bettman
in a release Thursday.

Kaleta was originally unpenalized for his hit to the head on Blue Jackets
defenseman Jack Johnson during the early stages of an eventual 4-1 Columbus
victory, but the hit did not escape notice at the league office.

“Back-checking through the middle, Kaleta approaches Johnson from the side
and finishes a check directly to Johnson’s head. Although Johnson is eligible
to be checked, Kaleta takes an improper angle, misses Johnson’s body and does
not make a full check,” said Shanahan in his video explanation of the
rationale behind the ban.

“It’s important to note, that no matter who delivered this hit, it would have
resulted in supplemental discipline. However, the fact that it was delivered
by a player who has been fined or suspended six times in the last four
seasons, factors heavily into the severity of the decision.”

The 26-year-old winger drew a five-game suspension for an early March incident
against Brad Richards of the New York Rangers after having been previously
suspended multiple games on three prior occasions.

“I have concluded, based on my review of the matter that there is clear and
convincing evidence to support Mr. Shanahan’s determination that a 10-game
suspension is the appropriate penalty in this case,” added Bettman. “My
conclusion is based both on the nature of the violation and, even more
significantly, on Mr. Kaleta’s prior disciplinary record.”

Kaleta will be forced to forfeit $152,439 in salary, which goes into the
Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.