Buffalo Sabres winger Patrick Kaleta is going to take advantage of provisions in the new collective bargaining agreement players signed with the NHL in January and appeal his 10-game suspension, according to multiple reports.
Kaleta will appeal the ban, of which he has served three games, to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Once Bettman hears Kaleta’s case and makes a ruling, Kaleta can appeal further to a neutral arbitrator. The arbitrator can uphold the suspension, shorten it or even lengthen it. The process was added to the CBA for all suspensions of six games or more.
Kaleta got his 10 games for a check to the head of Columbus’ Jack Johnson on Oct. 10 but the length of his suspension was based on his status as a multiple offender (five previous fines/suspensions).
The appeal is undoubtedly based on the fact that Johnson was not injured on the play and went on to play a team-high 23 minutes in spite of the hit, which came less than four minutes into the first period.
Neither the Sabres nor Kaleta have commented on the suspension. Kaleta’s agent, Toronto-based Anton Thun, was traveling Wednesday and could not be reached for comment.
He continues to be suspended pending the outcome of his appeal, which has not been set.
It will be long time-no see tonight for the Sabres and Vancouver Canucks, who have not played in First Niagara Center since a 4-3 Sabres win on Nov. 15, 2010. Buffalo defenseman Tyler Myers decided the game with an overtime goal.
The Canucks, in their first year under former New York Rangers coach and long-ago Buffalo assistant John Tortorella, improved to 4-3 with a 3-2 win Tuesday in Philadelphia.
Tortorella broke up twins and longtime linemates Henrik and Daniel Sedin in that game for the second time this season and the new top line of Henrik Sedin, Chris Higgins and Ryan Kesler accounted for two third-period goals, including Kesler’s game-winner with 2:25 to play.
The lines remained the same in Vancouver’s practice Wednesday in Philadelphia, although Tortorella said afterward he didn’t know what he would do tonight.
Tonight’s game is the second of a seven-game road trip that will also take the Canucks to Pittsburgh, Columbus, Long Island, New Jersey and St. Louis. The 12-day odyssey is Vancouver’s longest trip of the season.
The game will be the first trip back for former Buffalo first-round pick Zack Kassian, swapped to the Canucks for Cody Hodgson at the trade deadline in 2012. The teams met in Vancouver less than a week later, with the Sabres earning a 5-3 win.
Updating Ryan Miller’s numbers: The Sabres’ goaltender earned his first points of the season in Tuesday’s shootout win over the New York Islanders, stopping 41 of 44 shots. He has a goals-against average of 2.39 and a glossy save percentage of .939 despite a 1-4 record.
Miller leads the NHL in shots against (197) and saves (185) even though he’s just 11th in minutes played (301). He’s the only goalie in the league to face three games of 40-plus shots.
Miller has a .958 save percentage in the third period and overtime of his five starts.