Kaleta Called To Account for Hit to Jack Johnson
The NHL has announced that Patrick Kaleta will be facing a hearing with the department of Player Safety after a hit to the head of Blue Jackets' defenseman Jack Johnson last night.
It was clear last night that Patrick Kaleta had drawn the ire of the Blue Jackets for his hit on Jack Johnson early in the first period, which sparked an immediate fight with Jared Boll, but the blow went unpenalized in the aftermath.
It seems the NHL's department of player safety took notice, however, announcing today that Kaleta will be facing a hearing for his actions. Given that the NHL is providing him the option of appearing in person to defend himself, there's a pretty good chance this will lead to a suspension of five or more games, particularly since he's considered a repeat offender.
SBNation.com has good video of the hit, which certainly looks like a blatant elbow to the head.
(Update: Twitter user NWAGhost has posted a GIF of the hit that gives you about the clearest look I've seen yet.)
Kaleta was previously suspended for a headbutt to former Blue Jacket Jakub Voracek in 2011, and last season he sat out five games for boarding Brad Richards.
All things considered, you'd think this is going to be a pretty significant suspension. Given his status, 10 games wouldn't shock me - that would match Matt Cooke's "Third Strike" back in 2011. The only other recent suspension for a multiple repeat offender I can think of right now is Raffi Torres' 25 game ban for his hit on Marian Hossa, but I don't think this incident was quite so...dramatic, especially since Johnson remained in the game.
If Kaleta accepts the in-person hearing, it wouldn't be difficult for him to get down to New York City, so I'd expect we'll know more before the weekend is out.
Update: Kaleta has accepted the offer for an in-person hearing. The meeting with the league has been scheduled for Tuesday.