Patrick Kaleta did his job against the New Jersey Devils. He got under the skin of super star Ilya Kovalchuk – and drove the Devils crazy as the Buffalo Sabres skated to the shootout and the longest winning streak of the season.
Sunday against the New York Rangers – Patrick Kaleta hit Brad Richards in the numbers and threw him awkwardly into the boards. Richards took a long time to get back on his feet.
The Buffalo Sabres hometown product was sentenced to five minutes for boarding, and a game misconduct. As the ensuing five on three landed a goal, and the New York Rangers added another goal during the five minute major, everyone in Buffalo Sabres fanbase knew he was going to hear from Brendan Shanahan.
Hear from the league he did – to the tune of five games. The suspension will eliminate $76,219.25 from his coffers this season. The unearned salary will go into the Players Emergency Assistance Fund.
I don’t disagree with the suspension of Patrick Kaleta. I don’t disagree with calling Patrick Kaleta a repeat offender as outlined in the collective bargaining agreement. What I do have a problem with is the leagues continued use of the good old boy network; and the ability for Shanahan to not throw the book at a guy for a dangerous hit because the guy doesn’t normally play like that – or maybe the guy that took the hit is that type of player, so its nothing more than karma.
What I do have an issue with is the wording of the rule:
A boarding penalty shall be imposed on any player who checks or pushes a defenseless opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to hit or impact the boards violently or dangerously.
Any player? Or just the players Shanahan and the league deems as detrimental to the sport? Maybe Shanahan has a grudge against them personally?
I am not happy about the ruling on a number of levels. Other than the biased use of the suspensions – the fact of the “offended” player returning to the game, or level of injury should have no bearing on a suspension or penalty.
If its a bit from behind, its a hit from behind – injury or no injury. I don’t think a player should be suspended on whether or not the guy missed time, serious time or a shift or two. The suspension should be on the hit and the hit alone.
How many Buffalo Sabres have been hit in the numbers this year and thrown violently or dangerously into the boards? Patrick Kaleta and Nathan Gerbe are two names that stand out just this year alone with no action taken.
It is time that every hit is reviewed by Toronto – just like every goal is reviewed. Create a department similar to the boardroom that is indifferent to the outcome of the game; that will review the hits during a game. Penalized or not – a player should be suspended if the hit satisfies the wording of the rules.