Later today, the Buffalo Sabres Patrick Kaleta will face a disciplinary hearing for cheap play. Apparently ramming your helmet into an opponent’s face is frowned up by the NHL.

Take a look:

There are many different ways to “oops, did that hurt?” your opponent, but this was one of the more creative. Your standard headbutt usually comes during a post-whistle scrum where a face-to-face “eff you”-off gets too close, so one guy sneaks in the descending head blow.

The upward motion, like a bull trying to gore a matador is pretty unique. Pretty concerning too, coming from a guy who’s doesn’t always keep things on the up-and-up.

The problem with Kaleta is, his infractions aren’t usually this obvious (remember the gate incident?). He loves the little holds and spears and chirps.

Because of that, he’s shot up the list of most-hated players in the NHL, and I think he’s downright close to claiming top spot.

There’s good news though - NHL has him on their radar now, and there’s a new sherrif in town waiting to drop his hammer.

Fitting image, no?

If there’s a good time to send a message to him, it’s now. He can be an effective player if he just prunes this garbage from his game. It’s not “playing on the edge” when you smash your helmet into a guy’s face.

I have some sympathy when guys say it’s a fast game, and they made a split second decision wrong. But not for nicely thought-out moves like this one.

Kaleta is a cheap player, and it’s time for the League to send him a message.


Up next: the Backhand Shelf Podcast, with guest Dave Semenko. Stay tuned!