Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson is none too pleased with the elbow Patrick Kaleta laid on him early in Thursday’s 4-1 win over Buffalo.
“I thought it was blatant,” Johnson told the Columbus Dispatch of the hit, one that went unpenalized but earned Kaleta an in-person disciplinary hearing with the NHL.
The hit in question (at 0:28):
Kaleta is suspended pending his Tuesday hearing with the Department of Player Safety, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s game against Chicago and Monday’s against Minnesota.
That punishment wasn’t enough for Johnson, though. He went about trying to exact some of his own personal justice late in the game, and got it with a big bodycheck in the third period.
“Yeah, I was looking for him,” Johnson said. “Absolutely. I was going to hit him whether he had the puck or not, to be honest with you.
“If he doesn’t show any respect for us, we’re not going to show any respect for him. It’s a two-way street.”
According to the NHL, Kaleta is facing supplemental discipline for an illegal check to the head. If punished, it’ll be the latest blemish on his lengthy rap sheet: Last season, he was suspended five games for a hit on Brad Richards; in 2011 he received a four-game ban for headbutting Jakub Voracek; and in 2009 he received a two-game suspension for hitting Philly’s Jared Ross.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.