VIDEO: Patrick Kaleta to have hearing for high hit on Jack Johnson
Patrick Kaleta could be in hot water after his unpenalized check to Jack Johnson has drawn the attention of player safety czar Brendan Shanahan.
Another day, another questionable hit in the NHL.
The contact went mostly without notice initially as Buffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta delivered a hit to Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson. Kaleta went unpenalized for the hit, but the NHL's player safety department took a look at it and has requested an in-person hearing with Kaleta.
The initial camera angle didn’t catch the contact either, but it did find Kaleta and Jared Boll dropping the gloves immediately after Johnson hit the deck.
The replay, which you can see at about the 26 second mark of the video above, showed Kaleta making contact with Johnson and the Blue Jackets defenseman's head snapping back before he hit the ice. It’s a very quick look and from that angle is tough to conclude definitively, but it certainly doesn’t look good and the NHL has a lot more camera angles than that, probably.
It is important to remember the NHL changed the wording of Rule 48, which deals with contact to the head. The NHL removed the word “targeting” so that the definition of a head check could be broader. However, a case could be made here that Kaleta did indeed target Johnson's head anyway.
Since Kaleta was offered an in-person hearing, it allows the player safety department the authority to suspend Kaleta for more than five games.
One thing that goes in Kaleta's favor is that Johnson did remain in the game after the hit, but considering Kaleta's league-wide reputation and his status as a repeat offender, it probably doesn't matter. Expect the league's punishment to be severe.
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