Buffalo Sabres winger Sabres Patrick Kaleta has been suspended for four games for delivering a head-butt to an opposing player.
The NHL ruled that Kaleta led with his head to deliver an illegal hit to the face of Philadelphia's Jakub Voracek in Buffalo's 3-2 home loss Wednesday night.
“The significant factor in this incident is whether the contact is intentional, reckless or accidental,” NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan said in a video review of the hit on the league website.
The suspension was announced after Kaleta's hearing with Shanahan.
Kaleta's recent history was a factor in the suspension, said Shanahan, who noted similar hits on New Jersey's Travis Zajak a year ago and Atlanta's Tobias Enstrom nine months ago.
“This recent history of ramming his head into the faces of his opponents regardless of whether he is trying to free the puck leads us to believe that this act is intentional,” Shanahan said.
In Wednesday's incident, which happened at 4:58 of the first period, Kaleta drove his head upwards into the face of Voracek as five players were digging for a loose puck along the boards. No penalty was called on the play.
The 25-year-old Kaleta has one goal and 18 penalty minutes in 11 games this season. He will forfeit US$19,621.64 in salary.
Kaleta will be eligible to return Nov. 12 at Boston.