"Patrick Kaleta, you have a call on Line 1 from Brendan Shanahan ..."
In the third period of Sunday night's game, Buffalo Sabres agitator and rat extraordinaire took it a step too far and delivered a punishing cross-check to the back of Rangers forward Brad Richards. It earned Kaleta a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
That's likely going to be just the start of it.
It was a needless play from Kaleta and as bad as it gets when talking about checking from behind. Kaleta was staring at Richards' numbers before delivering the hit that sent Richards frighteningly flying into the boards.
As bad as the hit looked, Richards was back on the ice just a few minutes later. It was surprising to see he didn't go to the quiet room after that kind of impact with the boards. You'd think the Rangers would have wanted to be extra cautious, but I assume they saw/heard something from him on the bench that made them think he was fit to return.
As for Kaleta, it's really hard not to imagine Shanahan will have a hearing scheduled on this one by the morning, possibly even in-person with Kaleta already in New York City. There's the potential it could be more than five games.
In addition to being a terribly dangerous hit worthy of a suspension, the play completely changed the game. The Rangers scored twice in the next minute to take a 2-1 lead at the time but a short-handed goal from Nathan Gerbe at the end of the penalty evened the game.
Some are inevitably going to say Richards took a dive on the play and while perhaps the hit doesn't seem incredibly tough from Kaleta, it was still reckless. Not to mention I just don't believe for one second a player is going to willingly go head first into the boards in a flop attempt.
Kaleta, arguably the NHL's most hated player right now, has a history in the league office, something to keep in mind if Shanahan reaches the point of sentencing for Kaleta. He was suspended four games last season for head-butting. That reputation likely won't help him in this case either.