By Mike Harrington
"Mr. Kaleta, Mr. Shanahan is on line 1."
OK, so we know that conversation is taking place today. As it should.
But will there also be "Mr. Girardi, Mr. Shanahan is on line 2?"
Patrick Kaleta's cross-check on Brad Richards in the third period last night was a cheap and competely ill-advised play, especially when the Sabres were killing a penalty. It was brutally dangerous, with Richards going head-first into the boards. And it looked very serious when the Rangers center was writhing in pain on the ice.
Still, it was pretty odd how quickly Richards returned; NHL senior vice president for player safety Brendan Shanahan usually takes injuries into account on his supplemental discipline decisions and the fact Richards came right back will help Kaleta some. But only some.
(9 a.m. update: TSN's Bob McKenzie reports Kaleta has a phone hearing. That means the maximum suspension is going to be 5 games)
Kaleta had a four-game suspension in 2011 for a head-butt and his reputation around the league is plain terrible. Look what Mark Spector, a senior columnist for Sportsnet.ca, tweeted last night: "Patrick Kaleta is a dangerous, irresponsible player. Has been for years. Game doesn't need him. Be a better place without him."
Spector also added "Kaleta has a 'bad rep' 'cause he's been hitting from behind for ages. He's Raffi Torres, but from behind." (I disagree there as Kaleta has zero suspensions in his career for hits from the rear but it's hard to argue the rep).
I would hope Shanahan would also look at Dan Girardi's boarding call in overtime against Tyler Ennis. To me, that's a suspendable hit as well. My guess, however, is that the NHL will take the easy way out and say Ennis turned before the hit. And I don't care. You don't hit anyone in the back and plummet them into the boards ever.
(McKenzie, for the record, said no way to the Girardi hit last night).
If I'm Shanahan, Kaleta is gone for five games and Girardi sits for one and maybe two. What do you think should happen? Take our polls below. (Reminder: I created them before the hearing info came out and the most Kaleta will actually get is five games. But vote what you think he should have gotten if you think it should have been more).
But before you vote, watch the reaction of Rangers coach John Tortorella. He's a beaut.
taggedNew York Rangers | Patrick Kaleta | Tyler Ennis