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SHANABANNED! Sabres’ Kaleta gets five games for hit on Richards

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Patrick Kaleta's hit on Brad Richards deserved a stiffer sentence.

Repeat offender Patrick Kaleta was lucky to get off so lightly for this hit on Brad Richards. (Bruce Benett/Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

It’s clear that Brendan Shanahan hit Patrick Kaleta a lot harder than the Buffalo winger hit Brad Richards.

So why does the five-game suspension that Shanahan imposed on Monday afternoon feel like a slap on the wrist?

Not that anyone should be surprised by this verdict, especially in the wake of last week’s soft touch fine handed down to Dallas’ Jamie Benn. Shanny telegraphed this decision when he offered Kaleta a phone hearing, a format that ensured the sentence couldn’t be more than five games. That’s a significant number because a provision in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement allows a player to appeal any suspension above that level to an independent arbitrator.

And yet all the elements in play with this situation cried out for that line to be crossed. Seeing this result, instead of eight or 10 games, it’s fair to wonder if Shanahan was trying to avoid turning this incident into the test case. Was he worried that Richards’ return to the game and the absence of a serious injury would undermine his ruling in the eyes of the arbiter and, by extension, call his other rulings into question? Sure feels that way, doesn’t it?

What Shanahan should have considered was the one overriding element of this incident: Kaleta is a repeat offender who has twice been suspended previously. He’s the definition of a reckless player, epitomizing a dangerous style that everyone says they want out of the game. Here’s a chance to make a statement and Shanny offers up a harshly worded “tsk-tsk.”

Look at the play (VIDEO). There’s nothing bang-bang about it, no way Kaleta could claim that he was simply following through on a hit and things went bad at the last instant. Kaleta had no chance to make a play on Richards or the puck, so he pushed him face-first into the boards.

Shanahan recognized that much, noting that “Kaleta was in full control of this play and had ample opportunity to make a better decision.”

The same will be said about Shanny after this one.

  • Published On Mar 04, 2013
  • 5 comments
    sjq294
    sjq294

    5 game should be the minimum for a head shot or boarding which results in going head first into the boards. This infraction warranted more but is in line with the fines and suspensions that Shanahan has given out so far this season. Why should Shanahan suddenly be inconsistent? If the NHL wants to limit head shots and boarding than the suspensions need to be longer. Also, the extent of the resultant injury should be irrelevant. If resultant inury is a yardstick, then have the player should be suspended until injured player returns plus a game or two. Using injury as a criterion for punishment always seemed wrong. Do you resuspend a player when a concussed player has to miss more games after a subsequent concussion?

    Lyle F
    Lyle F

    Torres gets 25 playoff games for a dirty, yet bang/bang hit, and the Kaleta, another repeat offender gets only 5 for a more dangerous shove in the numbers. I had hoped the wheel of justice guessing game was retired with Campbell, but obviously he handed it down to Shanahan. This is getting to be a joke. And one that isn't at all funny.

    GeoffreyHolland
    GeoffreyHolland

    and @patrick36kaleta is nothing but a punk. One day someone will take his ugly head off and no one on the Sabres will care. @patrick36kaleta shouldn't be allowed to earn a living by being a cheap shot artist.

    geeon1
    geeon1

    @Lyle F Shannahan still has a deep resentment for the Rangers for the way they let him go. I was surprised it was 5 games. Thought he would get at least 10 for it.