NHL upholds Patrick Kaleta's 10-game suspension

Oct. 24, 2013 at 3:06 PM
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NEW YORK, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- The NHL has upheld a 10-game suspension handed to Buffalo's Patrick Kaleta for hitting Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson in the head during a check.

Kaleta had appealed a 10-game ban issued by the NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan last week.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman Thursday upheld the punishment.

"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," Bettman said in a release.

Kaleta wasn't penalized by game officials for the Oct. 10 incident, when he checked Johnson early in the game.

A review by the league office determined a suspension was called for.

Shanahan claimed Kaleta took "an improper angle" in his attempt to check Johnson.

"It's important to note, that no matter who delivered this hit, it would have resulted in supplemental discipline," Shanahan said. "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."

Kaleta in March was given a five-game suspension for an incident against the New York Rangers' Brad Richards. Kaleta had previously been given multiple-game suspensions three times.

Kaleta will forfeit $152,439 in salary, which will be placed in the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

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