Buffalo Sabres v New York Rangers

Patrick Kaleta has a history of being a menace, and not in a delightful way like Mr. Wilson’s cartoon neighbour. He’s a menace in a different way, the kind of way that often leaves opponents writhing on the ice in pain (he’s been suspended by the NHL multiple times).

On Sunday night, Kaleta decided to cross the line yet again. This time his victim was New York Rangers’ centre Brad Richards.

Kaleta got five and a game for that crosscheck from behind, and will no doubt be receiving a call from Brendan Shanahan tomorrow.

Richards is lucky he didn’t break his neck.

UPDATE: Of course Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella had a few things to say about the hit.



Video Courtesy: HockeyVideoHD


Comments (23)

  1. I was more worried that Richards came back to the ice so quickly. His head smashed straight into the boards/ice and his neck snapped back. Really hoping no concussion symptoms come up, but I wish they would have played it safe for the game. Then again, I’m not a trained medical professional.

    • Richards came back so quickly because he wasn’t hurt. He rolled around on the ice like an Italian soccer player and should get an Emmy for his performance. Torts is being Torts. How many hits has he called ” the worst I’ve ever seen”? He complains more than a prepubescent girl.

  2. I agree WernOTron. I was slightly ticked off that someone didn’t stop him from coming back so soon. It was such a nasty hit I think he should have taken a bit more time to either get checked out or catch his breath. He was a bit slow on his first shift back, no doubt the result of that hit. I don’t think anyone can blame a guy if he wanted to sit out a few extra minutes to make sure he’s okay rather than rushing back and risking his health even further. I hope Richie gets the all clear and that he’s truly okay, and as for Kaleta… hopefully the fact Richie came back doesn’t negate the consideration for further punishment for a repeat offender.

  3. There was an article on here a little more than a month ago about hits from behind exactly like Kaleta’s (http://blogs.thescore.com/nhl/2013/01/30/two-dangerous-hits-two-very-different-outcomes-your-average-night-in-the-nhl/).

    The point was these hits happen frequently, but most of the time aren’t dangerous because the recipient is prepared. Kaleta does a lot of stupid stuff, but this wasn’t that bad and he shouldn’t be vilified for it. There was a hit on Ennis in OT that was much worse but resulted in 2 minutes only, likely because (1) the hitter’s reputation isn’t as bad as Kaleta’s and (2) Ennis wasn’t injured like Richards.

    • “The point was these hits happen frequently, but most of the time aren’t dangerous because the recipient is prepared. ”

      They shouldnt, whether the guy is “prepared” or not. How is the hitter supposed to judge the preparedness of the guy he’s hitting?

      • I just think it’s an example a hit that happens dozens of times throughout a game–a small shove in the small of the back–that nobody even notices because most of the time the recipient doesn’t fall down awkwardly. People will be super-inflammatory about this one, thought, because (1) it’s Richards, (2) it’s Kaleta, and (3) it resulted in an injury.

        I’d say that this hit is as dangerous as the one on Ennis in OT, but obviously they’re dangerous in different ways (the awkwardness of the fall and distance from the boards v. a very hard shoulder to the numbers).

      • We need to stop encouraging players to be so perpetually “unprepared” to receive a hit while on the ice. Just plain stupid.

    • Girardi deserved the boarding penalty he got, no doubt about it. However, Girardi was prepared to cut Ennis off. Ennis stopped and turned his back to Girardi. Girardi (stupidly) followed through with the hit. Richards was skating towards the board the entire time that Kaleta was following him.

      The two hits weren’t even close to being the same. We may see Girardi get fined, but there is no way that Kaleta doesn’t get 3-5 games.

      • Joe: You are correct that the two hits are not the same in that they didn’t happen in the same way. My point was only that they are both equally dangerous in different ways (risk of head injury from awkward fall in Richards’ case, risk of head injury from face slammed into boards in Ennis’ case). I’d argue that Kaleta’s wasn’t as bad because it was more unlucky and awkward, and oftentimes those little shoves result in nothing at all and go completely unnoticed, while Girardi’s was clearly unsafe.

        I’m not saying Kaleta’s hit shouldn’t be punished. When you shove like that, 95% of the time nothing happens, 5% of the time this happens, and he takes the risk of punishment if that 5% case actually occurs. It’s just not malicious or even reckless, and I don’t think it’s suspension-worthy.

        • I agree with your general premise that these things happen all the time, and sometimes something bad happens. That doesn’t mean that it’s not reckless. If I drive down the road going 25 mph over the speed limit and weave in and out of cars, it would be reckless. It doesn’t matter if I cause an accident, it is still reckless.

          Kaleta happened to catch Richards at the exact moment he was playing the puck and threw him off balance. How can you not call Kaleta’s hit reckless though? He trailed him from behind the entire time, and pushed Richards in the back when he was ~5 feet away from the boards. What would you consider reckless?

          Even I, as a Rangers fan will admit that Girardi’s hit was a little reckless. He could have pulled up and not hit Ennis. He could have just stopped and poke checked Ennis. However, I think that play was bang-bang. There was not much time to make a decision. Kaleta had an eternity in hockey time.

          • I could admit that Kaleta’s hit is “a little reckless” like Girardi’s. No one has said anything about that hit, though, and Girardi certainly won’t hear from Shanny, which underscores my point that everyone’s abuzz about the Kaleta hit just because it’s Kaleta and Richards was injured (at least for a few minutes, and we’ll see how much longer now that the adrenaline has worn off…), and not because the hit itself was that bad.

  4. Almost wonder if it was a ‘dive-gone-bad.’ Looks like the hit was delivered at the waist-level, and considering the relative speed in which Richards returned to the ice, you have to wonder. Some of these hits are dirty, but based on the idea that Kaleta is a “repeat offender,” had he intended to hurt Richards he could have thrown his body into the backside of Richards to deliver a more devistating hit, perhaps like the one Girardi put on Ennis later on in the game.

    The league enacted in diving and embellishment penalties for a reason. Some hits are dirty, but turning a routine hit into a dramatic acting session is just as dirty. And for some of those acting sessions, the actor takes a little more than he can chew, perhaps this is one of those cases.

    • To me, it totally looks like a dive gone bad. Richards knew Kaleta was right there the whole time, leaned forward instead of bracing himself in any way totally sold that one. It actually looks like he toe-picked, which I’m sure he didn’t plan, and that’s the main reason it went so wrong. Can’t buy the line that someone with as much smarts and vision on the ice as Richards lost track of where he was, where his man was, and in no way prepared to receive any contact. Sick of this trend of “oh my garsh, we have to protect our star players” just so that star players can pretend like they’re not playing a contact sport.

  5. My first thought on seeing it was that Richards went down a little easy. No one ever wants to be defending Patrick Kaleta but it was the first thing that came into my head. Richards knew who was coming behind him, he gets the shove, and maybe just misjudged how far away from the boards he was when he went down.

    After I got yelled at by a Rangers fan I looked again and actually i think it’s a combination of Richards swiping the puck away, catching the toe of his left foot in a rut, and the shove from Kaleta.

    So, a shitty hit, but not the worst hit in the history of hockey. 1 – 2 games suspension max.

    • The only thing keeping this from being “the worst hit in the history of hockey” is a few centimeters turn of Richards’ neck…and for the record I could care less about either team.

      This kind of crap “hit” needs to be run from the game A.S.A.P., along with the players who deliver it.

      • You’re line about how “we need to get this out of the game” is exactly the mentality that made this dive happen in the first place. Star players know how prejudiced and ridiculous reffing and supplemental discipline is now, so they dive and sell injuries and, as Richards did here, put themselves in far more danger with their own actions (diving into the boards) than the person nudging them ever did. Too bad for Brad he toe-picked mid-dive. Get your type of fascist perspective on discipline, intent, and safety out of hockey and we’ll have a lot less diving and a lot more clean hitting.

        • Look at the freakin picture. Dude had his hands by his hips and is literally kissing the boards, stopping his face plant with his lips. Richards has way too much skill to make a dive that dangerous.

  6. From the side angle…I dunno that there’s really a problem here. Kaleta barely bumped him and certainly not with enough force to drive him into the boards like this (look at how slow Kaleta’s arms impact Richards’ back, then look how fast Richards explodes into the boards…the one doesn’t cause the other).

    Sorta reminds me of the play Malkin got hurt on. Where Bogosian bumped him and he just lost an edge in the worst possible spot.

    My best guesses are Richards either hit a rut in the ice or (*shields self*) misjudged the distance to the boards on a dive.

    • This. Total softy. I hope this isn’t what the “culture change” I keep hearing about leads to; every time a top-skill player gets touched it’s a problem because said player chooses to forget he’s playing a contact sport occasionally.

  7. Most dirtiest player in the game is a pest as well

  8. Kaleta is a piece of s*** and it would be an improvement to the safety of the game if he suffered a career-ending injury.

    • ranger fans grow up. you should be more concerned that your so-called star player is more of an actor than a hockey player. a five year old could have stayed on his feet from that hit. hey rangers , isnt it about time to sell girl scout cookies?

  9. just saw the Lucic video..lol..funny how a big guy like him always leads with a glove on when he throws a sucker punch..did they do away with the intent to injure on fighting with gloves on, or do they allow a “grace” shot?? good thing his hockey skills are up to par…

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