Sabres’ Kaleta gets longest career suspension of 5 games
Raleigh, NC, United States (4E Sports) – Buffalo Sabres right winger Patrick Kaleta got a five-game suspension for boarding Brad Richards of the New York Rangers.
It’s the longest suspension of Kaleta’s career, surpassing the four-game sitdown last season for head-butting Philadelphia’s Jakub Voracek.
“In spite of the fact that Kaleta does not shove Richards with great force, he does so at an extremely dangerous distance from the boards,” said senior vice president of player safety, Brendan Shanahan.
“Richards does not turn his back just prior or make any sudden movements that contribute to this illegal check. Kaleta is in full control of this play and has ample opportunity to make a better decision.”
Shanahan took into account Kaleta’s status as a repeat offender and the fact Richards returned to the game in determining the suspension length. The five-game benching will cost Kaleta $76,219.25.
“I just play hard, and I was on the penalty kill trying to do my job,” said Kaleta.
He has taken pride in trying to rehabilitate his image and has focused on legal hits rather than borderline blows.
“I have changed my game,” Kaleta said. He said that players have seen that, and even referees have said that they respect what Kaleta has done so far.
The Rangers disagreed, mocking Kaleta’s style of play and calling the hit “disgusting.”
Kaleta felt worse for taking a five-minute penalty that gave the Rangers a five-on-three power play. They scored twice during the first minute of Kaleta’s infraction to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead. New York beat the Sabres, 3-2, in a shootout.
“I’m just sorry for the position I put the team in trying to kill that penalty,” Kaleta said. “It makes me feel like a bag of garbage after seeing that.”
The Sabres will not make a roster move due to Kaleta’s suspension.