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Patrick Kaleta faces in-person NHL hearing for head-shot on Jack Johnson

Suspending Patrick Kaleta is a seasonal rite for Brendan Shanahan, who has banned the Buffalo Sabres forward in each of his two seasons as Department of Player Safety boss.

Looks like it’ll be a hat trick for Kaleta: He has an in-person hearing with the NHL or this shoulder to the head of Jack Johnson of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.

The hit is about 28 seconds into this clip, after Kaleta fights Jared Boll:

From the NHL:

At 3:10 of the first period, Kaleta collided with Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson near the boards just inside the Buffalo zone. No penalty was assessed for that hit, but Kaleta received a fighting major after engaging with the Blue Jackets' Jared Boll after the hit. Johnson remained in the game.

The following grounds are being considered for supplemental discipline: illegal check to the head. However, the Department of Player Safety retains the right to make adjustments to the infraction upon review.

At least from this angle, this would seem reminiscent of the Brad Stuart hit on Rick Nash that earned the San Jose Sharks defenseman a suspension: It occurs right after Johnson releases the puck, along the boards, and with Kaleta finishing high.

Stuart was given three games for that Nash hit, and that was for a player with no priors. Kaleta, meanwhile, was suspended four games for head-butting Jakub Voracek and fined for high-sticking Derek Morris in Nov. 2011; and suspended five games for boarding Brad Richards last season in March 2013.

Hence, an in-person hearing was offered, for a suspension that’ll likely be over five games.

Remember, this has been a Brendan Shanahan mandate from Day 1 on the job: To get the small percentage of repeat offenders to stop offending, and to do so with escalating penalties.

Kaleta is now on strike three for suspensions.

Looks like Lambert and McCaig picked the right guy for “most games suspended in 2013-14.”

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