The NHL department of player safety has suspended Buffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta for 10 games stemming from an illegal check to the head of Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman Jack Johnson on Thursday.
Kaleta’s latest punishment adds to a long list of recent infractions that have seen the 27-year-old fined or suspended six times over the last four seasons.
Last week’s incident occurred early in the first period after Johnson received the puck at the Buffalo blueline and advanced it along the boards.
“Although Johnson is eligible to be checked, Kaleta takes an improper angle, misses Johnson’s body and doesn’t make a full body-check,” NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan explained. “Instead, he hits Johnson directly on the chin with his left shoulder.
“Despite the fact that Johnson is in the act of coming to a stop, in our opinion, he doesn’t materially change the position of his head and body in such a way that significantly contributes to his head being the main point of contact.”
Kaleta will forfeit $152,439.00 in salary which will go to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.
Johnson remained in the game following the incident and wasn’t injured on the play.