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Bettman upholds Kaleta’s 10-game suspension

Oct 24, 2013, 1:56 PM EDT

KaletaBlood Getty Images

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has upheld the 10-game suspension given to Buffalo’s Patrick Kaleta following his illegal check to the head of Columbus’ Jack Johnson.

“Regrettably, Mr. Kaleta stands out for his repeated violations of — and seeming indifference to — the Playing Rules put in place to protect other Players, and, particularly, other Players’ heads,” Bettman explained in a statement ruling. “Specifically, Mr. Kaleta has committed a series of other serious, head-related Playing Rule violations in each of the four most recent prior seasons.”

For Bettman’s complete ruling, click here

Kaleta, 27, announced he’d be appealing the ban on Oct. 16 and his hearing with Bettman took place this past Monday.

According to the ruling, Kaleta was appealing on the grounds that NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan “improperly reviewed evidence consisting of prior on-ice incidents” involving Kaleta, “improperly considered Supplementary Discipline fines” assessed against Kaleta and, finally, that Shanahan incorrectly used incidents with James Wisniewski and Andy Sutton as “the most appropriate [disciplinary] comparables.”

It’s worth noting that, despite his lengthy history with the Department of Player Safety, Kaleta had only been suspended once within the last 18 months prior to the Johnson hit, a five-gamer for boarding Rangers forward Brad Richards in March of 2013.

Kaleta’s previous suspensions (four games for headbutting, two games for boarding) happened more than 18 months ago.

As for the next step?

Kaleta can still continue with the appeal process. He has seven days to file through a neutral discipline arbitrator, which would be a landmark decision as no player has opted to go that route since the implementation of the NHL’s new collective bargaining agreement.

According to the CBA, the neutral arbitrator’s decision “shall be final and binding in all respects and not subject to review.”

Two previous appeals — by Raffi Torres and Paul Bissonnette — were heard by Bettman and resulted in reduced suspensions. Torres had his original 25-game ban reduced to 21 games, while Bissonnette had his original 10-game suspension reduced to three.

  1. pepper2011 - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    I hear George Laraque might be looking for some work. Seems like he’d fit right in to Sabre culture.

    • joey4id - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:21 PM

      Yeah! Right! Laraque is running for office somewhere in Montreal.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Oct 24, 2013 at 3:27 PM

        GL was joking, unless he wasn’t.

  2. bronxsanman - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    Good!!! This guy is a menace!!! The league shouldn’t wait till he ends someone’s career.we don’t need another Steve Moore incident in the N.H.L.this is the first positive thing bettman’s has done in his tenure.

    • freneticgarfieldfan - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:14 PM

      And Marc Savard’s.
      Ups, this was apparently a “hockey play” /sarcasm

  3. 7mantel - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    Kaleta should just man up and take his punishment !

    • elemeno89 - Oct 24, 2013 at 4:29 PM

      It’s not about the number of games he will miss. By the time the appeal process is over he would have most likely missed the ten games by then. It’s more about the 150k that he would lose in his salary. That is a lot of hooch.

      • elemeno89 - Oct 24, 2013 at 5:42 PM

        For those down voting, I would love to hear why. In my original statement I did not offer any sympathy for the hit. I simply stated his possible reasoning behind his appeal. If you don’t agree, explain.

  4. ntvd7 - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    Someone is going to kick this guy’s ass into next week…

    I just wonder who it’s going to be

    • bullwinkle88 - Oct 24, 2013 at 3:39 PM

      Have you ever seen him fight? I haven’t seen him lose one yet!

      • thesportsjudge - Oct 24, 2013 at 3:57 PM

        Can’t lose when you constantly turtle.

      • ntvd7 - Oct 24, 2013 at 5:27 PM

        He doesn’t fight anyone

        Find me an impressive fight of his and link it here for everyone to see

  5. joey4id - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    “protect other Players, and, particularly, other Players’ heads,” -Bettman. Just pointing out the hypocrisy again. :-)

    • sunderlanding - Oct 24, 2013 at 4:30 PM

      How is that hypocrisy?

      • sabatimus - Oct 24, 2013 at 4:41 PM

        Don’t listen, he’s Agenda Man.

      • joey4id - Oct 24, 2013 at 4:54 PM

        When it comes to protecting “other players’ head” the NHL can do more, but haven’t yet because they are more concerned about losing ratings.

      • sunderlanding - Oct 24, 2013 at 4:58 PM

        They can always do more. Even if they took hitting out of the league there would still be head problems. As long as there is a league they can always do more. The trick is to find that happy medium. Remember at the end of the day this is entertainment, and these guys get compensated. It’s not like they don’t know they could get hurt.

  6. olhockeypop - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    10 games way to many The only way out of this check would be to pull out of it completely .This was just an unfortunate result of 2 players making hockey moves . The Columbus player actully set himself up by not bracing for an obvious upcoming check . I f he did not expect the hit coming while in the corner then to bad . he should of known what life is like along the boards . Granted for the sake of player saftey suspend Kaleta 5 games 10 is overreacting to this . And B4 you say past history comes into effect here it leagally does not according to the CBA . That time has expired to be even considered .
    Now the Scott hit even though believe it or not is his first time to be brought B4 the board for a illeagal hit . I believe should get 10 to 20 games . He just laid that poor guy out . Yes I am a Buffalo fan but Scotts hit was just freakin scary and deliberate . And I hate the Bruins always have and always will.
    Lets go Buffalo to the 1rst overall pick in the 2014 draft . Just do not let Darcey still be here to make it .

    • bullwinkle88 - Oct 24, 2013 at 3:43 PM

      I wouldn’t have anyone other than Darcy make that pick.

    • sunderlanding - Oct 24, 2013 at 4:31 PM

      So pull out completely then. Especially when you’re a repeat offender. In my opinion he should’ve got 20.

      • sabatimus - Oct 24, 2013 at 4:41 PM

        At least.

    • 2qswing - Oct 24, 2013 at 5:25 PM

      “The Columbus player actully set himself up by not bracing for an obvious upcoming check . I f he did not expect the hit coming while in the corner then to bad . he should of known what life is like along the boards” .

      Well where to start here. Not bracing for an obvious check? He was not bracing for the drive by elbow to the jaw. nothing close to a legal check. Do you define a hockey move as the elbow to the jaw?

      This incident did not happen in the corner. Where did you get that? It happened at or just inside the blue line.

      • storminator16 - Oct 25, 2013 at 8:18 AM

        If anyone is down voting what 2qswing said, you have issues. Reminds me on why I know NHL fans to be a confused sort. Or you didn’t read his comments after the quotes?

  7. billsin20xx - Oct 24, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    Bettman has always hated Buffalo, ever since the infamous ‘foot in the crease’ ruling where he invented an excuse to allow that goal.
    There is no way he was going to change kaleta’s suspension. Funny it took him fourdays to do it, by the time Kaleta’s appeal is done he will have the 10 games in.

    • bullwinkle88 - Oct 24, 2013 at 3:44 PM

      But remember, it was Bettman who saved the Buffalo franchise when the Rigas family were sent to jail.

      • storminator16 - Oct 25, 2013 at 8:23 AM

        No, let their jaded “hate” for Bettman consume them. For every good that Bettman has done for this league, he is still the most evil man on the planet. This league was a financially in trouble and had a bit of an image problem before he took over. In those “haters” defense, he has a new image problem he desperately needs to clean up with all of these guys who don’t know how to play the puck in the league.

        The man could birth kittens and folks will still think he’s Satan.

        Actually, that would be Satanic…

      • storminator16 - Oct 25, 2013 at 8:31 AM

        If any of that seems to fail the reading comprehension test, I agree with bullwinkle88.

  8. voltron217 - Oct 24, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    This league is a joke

  9. skr213 - Oct 24, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    I used to be a Sabres fan. “Used to” being the operative phrase.

    • DonkeyStick - Oct 24, 2013 at 4:31 PM

      I’m a little slow today………I don’t get it.

      • skr213 - Oct 24, 2013 at 4:42 PM

        Because I grew up in Rochester, so I was always a Sabres fan. Moved out to San Francisco many many years ago, but always kept a soft spot for the Sabres. But now with Kaleta and Scott and other stupid moves, it just keeps getting tougher and tougher to cheer for them.

    • travishenryskid - Oct 24, 2013 at 6:22 PM

      Please don’t coming crawling back when things get good again.

      • skr213 - Oct 24, 2013 at 7:11 PM

        Don’t worry about that. Enjoy the 6 month winters and your good long wait for the organization to get it’s act together. I knew when they signed Error-hoff to a long term deal, they were being run by people who have no idea what good hockey looks like.

  10. 2qswing - Oct 24, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    All you fans yapping about how the league should do this and that need to listen to these 5 words.
    N-H-L-P-A. They are just as responsible as anyone for the current mess regarding player safety. A year ago in the CBA discussions what were the players and Donald Fehr doing to help protect themselves and the game from the predators in their own ranks? They fought stiffer measures at every turn. They turned a blind eye just “protecting hockey jobs” This ridiculous appeal process, the 18-month rule are all designed to keep dues-paying goons in the game. Wait till expansion. There will be 15 or so additional players who are not NHL caliber, doing anything they can to stay in the show. And your friendly union lawyers will be right there to protect their jobs at all cost.
    Every team has hard-nosed physical players. That’s not who we are talking about. The true repeat predator goons in the game have got to go. There are about 6 or 7 in the league.
    Player reps, union leaders you had your chance to clean these guys out of the game. you blew it.

    • DonkeyStick - Oct 24, 2013 at 6:41 PM

      NHLPA?……remember these 5 words. “They-Are-Letters-Not-Words”. those “words” are sometimes refered to as an “acronym”

      • storminator16 - Oct 25, 2013 at 8:25 AM

        Did you actually read his comment?

  11. shortsxit34 - Oct 24, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    2qswing brings up a very valid point. A lot of this is the NHLPA’s fault. The union is, and always has been, more worried about protecting the guilty party rather than the poor guy that gets hurt. They fight to minimize suspensions, minimize fines, and ignore the guy that gets injured. Until the league and the PA do something to seriously make an offending team suffer, we’re going to continue to see one of these incidents once a week.

    • storminator16 - Oct 25, 2013 at 8:27 AM


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