Sabres' Kaleta suspended 10 games for another illegal hit

The National Hockey League levied a 10- game suspension to Buffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta on Tuesday for his actions in a game against Columbus on Oct. 10.

Kaleta was unpenalized for his hit to the head on Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson during the early stages of an eventual 4-1 Columbus victory.

"Back-checking through the middle, Kaleta approaches Johnson from the side and finishes a check directly to Johnson's head. Although Johnson is eligible to be checked, Kaleta takes an improper angle, misses Johnson's body and does not make a full check," said NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan in a video explanation of the rationale behind the ban.

"It's important to note, that no matter who delivered this hit, it would have resulted in supplemental discipline. However, the fact that it was delivered by a player who has been fined or suspended six times in the last four seasons, factors heavily into the severity of the decision," Shanahan continued.

The 26-year-old winger drew a five-game suspension only 21 regular-season games ago for an early March incident against Brad Richards of the New York Rangers having been previously suspended multiple games on three prior occasions.

Kaleta, who has already been held out of two games after the league informed him he faced a disciplinary hearing, will forfeit $152,439 in salary, which goes into the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.