Kaleta hit

Kaleta suspended five games for ‘extremely dangerous’ Richards hit


Buffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta has been suspended five games — the maximum sentence following a telephone disciplinary hearing — for his hit on New York’s Brad Richards.

Kaleta had a telephone hearing with NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan Monday afternoon.

“In spite of the fact that Kaleta does not shove Richards with great force, he does so at an extremely dangerous distance from the boards,” Shanahan explained via video. “Kaleta is in full control of this play and has ample opportunity to make a better decision.”

Shanahan also notes Richards didn’t turn his back at the last minute, and did nothing to contribute to being hit.

Here’s Shanahan’s full video explanation:

The incident occurred early in the third period, earning Kaleta a five-minute checking from behind major and game misconduct. Richards left momentarily, but was able to return to the contest.

Kaleta will be out of action until Saturday, Mar. 16, missing games against the Hurricanes, Devils, Flyers, Rangers and Senators — meaning yes, he’ll be held out of action when New York and Buffalo renew acquaintances on Mar. 12.

The Rangers were visibly upset with the hit. Head coach John Tortorella called it “one of the most dangerous hits I’ve ever seen,” while Richards classified it as “stupidity.”

Kaleta himself said he felt like a “bag of garbage” about the incident, but did say he’s “changed his game.”

In addition to missing the next five games, Kaleta will forfeit $76,219.25 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie notes the monetary fine is higher than usual because Kaleta’s a repeat offender.

NHL on NBCSN ’15-16 coverage begins tonight with doubleheader

Corey Crawford, Derek Stepan
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After months of waiting, we’re finally ready to begin the 2015-16 campaign and NBCSN will kick off its coverage with a doubleheader tonight.

The action will begin with the Chicago Blackhawks hosting the New York Rangers, starting at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Chicago has been called a dynasty by some for winning the Stanley Cup three times over the last six campaigns, but one thing that the Blackhawks haven’t done is successfully defend a title. The last team to do so was the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98 before the salary cap era kicked off. That change was on display this summer as the Blackhawks were forced to move or otherwise walk away from Johnny Oduya, Kris Versteeg, Patrick Sharp, Antoine Vermette, Brad Richards, and Brandon Saad in the name of cap compliance.

Even after losing all those pieces of their 2015 championship team though, Chicago has emerged from the summer with much of its core intact. It also has some promising new players, such as 23-year-old KHL star Artemi Panarin, who is attempting to make the leap to the NHL after outscoring former teammate Ilya Kovalchuk on his way to leading SKA St. Petersburg to a KHL championship.

The New York Rangers should be a great first test for the Blackhawks as they begin their new quest. The Rangers advanced to at least the Eastern Conference Final in three of the last four years, but they haven’t earned a championship since 1994. With Henrik Lundqvist set to celebrate his 34th birthday in March, the Rangers’ window for winning the Cup in front of their all-star goaltender is closing and thus the stakes are high for New York this season.

Starting at 10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN will air the San Jose Sharks’ contest against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. This is the second straight year that these two teams have been matched for the opener, but this time it’s under much different circumstances.

A year ago, Los Angeles had its sights set on defending its title while the Sharks were seeking revenge after suffering a reverse sweep in the first round against the Kings. In the end, neither team had the season they were looking for as they both fell short of the playoffs.

For the Sharks, that miss ended a playoff streak that dated back to the 2003-04 campaign while Los Angeles suffered its first major setback since it celebrated its first championship in 2012. Both teams have to be hungry to bounce right back this season and given that each both of these squads are certainly capable of obtaining that goal. First though, they need to settle the latest chapter of their rivalry.

PHT Morning Skate: Remembering 10 years of Crosby, Ovechkin

Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Here’s a detailed look back at Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin‘s first 10 years in the NHL. (NHL.com)

Speaking of Crosby, he’s signed a multiyear partnership with adidas. (Newswire)

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will play a key role in easing Connor McDavid into the NHL. (Edmonton Sun)

After two polar opposite seasons, the jury is still out on Patrick Roy as a head coach. (Denver Post)

Marc-Andre Fleury enjoys pulling off pranks on his teammates. “I play better when I’m looser, laughing and having fun,” he said. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Art McDonald, a Canadian who won recently won a Nobel Prize, talked to the committee members about the Toronto Maple Leafs. (SB Nation)