Niagara Gazette

Sports

October 24, 2013

Sabres' Scott suspended indefinitely; Kaleta suspension won't be reduced

BUFFALO — Buffalo Sabres enforcer John Scott was suspended indefinitely by the NHL on Thursday.

And teammate Patrick Kaleta's appeal to reduce his 10-game suspension was denied by league Commissioner Gary Bettman.

Scott was suspended pending a disciplinary hearing for a blindside hit to the head that leveled Boston Bruins forward Lou Eriksson in Buffalo's 5-2 loss a day earlier.

Scott has been given the opportunity to attend an in-person hearing, which has not yet been scheduled. The hearing is offered when a suspension has the potential to exceed five games.

The news didn't get any better for Buffalo, which is now down two roster spots because of suspended players.

Bettman issued a 17-page decision outlining why he turned down Kaleta's appeal to reduce a 10-game ban for an illegal hit to the head on Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson on Oct. 10.

In supporting league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan's initial ruling, Bettman noted Kaleta was a repeat offender, having been previously suspended three times, and added that Kaleta could have avoided hitting Johnson.

"I do conclude that he could have and should have avoided the hit altogether," Bettman wrote. "As Mr. Shanahan testified at the hearing, 'I think there was also the option of not throwing the check. That (is) always an option.'"

Kaleta wasn't penalized, and Johnson did not miss any ice time.

Kaleta has already missed six games and stands to lose $152,439 in salary. He has one last option to appeal Bettman's ruling by taking his case to neutral discipline arbitrator James Oldham.

Scott's suspension came after he was issued a match penalty for charging and ejected for his hit on Eriksson early in the third period of Boston's 5-2 win Wednesday. Eriksson was skating through the neutral zone and had just dumped the puck into the Sabres zone when Scott skated in from the player's right and struck him with a shoulder to the face.

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