BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - The NHL has suspended Buffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta for five games without pay for shoving New York Rangers forward Brad Richards from behind and into the boards.
The NHL's department of player safety announced the suspension Monday, a day after the player delivered the check in the third period of Buffalo's 3-2 shootout loss at New York.
NHL VP of player safety Brendan Shanahan provided this explanation:
"Despite the fact he does not shove Richards with great force, he does so at an extremely dangerous distance from the boards. This is a violation of the boarding rule which states: A boarding penalty shall be imposed on any player who checks or pushes a defenseless opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to impact the boards violently or dangerously. Richards does not turn his back just prior, or make any sudden movements just before this illegal check. Kaleta is in control of this play and has ample opportunity to make a better decision."
Kaleta was assessed a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct. The league took into account that Richards was shaken up, but returned. The league also noted Kaleta had been suspended twice before in his career.
Kaleta will lose more than $72,000 in salary, and begin serving the suspension Tuesday, when Buffalo plays at Carolina.
He's not eligible to return until March 17, when Buffalo plays at Washington.