Steve Ott has come to the defense of Sabres teammate Patrick Kaleta, questioning Kaleta’s 10-game suspension for a headshot on Jack Johnson.
“It’s hard because there’s no injury on the play,” Ott told The Buffalo News. “I have a hard time with it for that simple fact. Is it suspendable? Absolutely, as in the guy could have really been hurt.
“But could have is not good enough for me.”
Kaleta, 27, will reportedly appeal his suspension, which was handed down on Tuesday. NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan noted the decision was reached because of the Johnson incident and Kaleta’s lengthy rap sheet, as he’s been either fined or suspended six times in the last four years.
On that last point, though, there’s a catch.
“Repeat offender” status as defined by the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement means a player who has been fined or suspended in the past 18 months.
Under that umbrella, Kaleta has only been suspended one time, for boarding Rangers forward Brad Richards last season. All his prior transgressions happened more than 18 months ago.
But, it’s worth noting this 18-month window only applies to the way the player’s forfeited salary is calculated. A repeat offender forfeits 1/82nd of his annual average salary for every game suspended; for non-repeat offenders, that ratio drops to 1/195th (the denominator being days in a season, rather than games in a season).
It remains to be seen how effective Kaleta’s appeal will be. One thing worth noting is that another notorious repeat offender — Phoenix’s Raffi Torres — got his 25-game ban for hitting Marian Hossa reduced to 21 games.