Sabres' Patrick Kaleta suspended 5 games for cross-check on Brad Richards

The Buffalo Sabres' Patrick Kaleta gets a penalty

The Buffalo Sabres' Patrick Kaleta gets a penalty and a game misconduct after checking Brad Richards into the boards at Madison Square Garden. (March 3, 2013) Photo Credit: Getty

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GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- A sore Brad Richards sat out Monday's practice in the wake of Sunday's cross-check from behind by Buffalo's Patrick Kaleta. But Rangers coach John Tortorella said of Richards, "He'll be fine."

Kaleta was suspended for five games and fined $76,219.25 by the NHL Monday for slamming Richards into the boards headfirst. NHL vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan made the decision after an afternoon telephone hearing.

"Kaleta was in full control of the play," Shanahan, a former Ranger, said in a video released by the NHL. "He had ample opportunity to make a better decision."

Kaleta received a five-minute major and a game misconduct. The penalty occurred at 3:28 of the third period with Buffalo leading 1-0. The Rangers scored twice, once with a two-man advantage and another while a man up. Richards later returned and the Rangers went on to a 3-2 shootout win.

"We [made] them pay for their stupidity," Tortorella said.

Richards declined to talk to the media yesterday. Kaleta, who did not speak to reporters after Sunday's game, gave his version to Buffalo-area reporters Monday morning.

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"I'm going to keep it as limited as I can, but I'm just sorry for the position I put the team in trying to kill that penalty," Kaleta said, according to the Buffalo News. "I feel for that, for putting the penalty-killers out there and them getting the two goals. It makes me feel like a bag of garbage after seeing that. But I'm glad that our team responded with that. I'm proud of it and just going to go forward."

Kaleta, who was suspended for four games in 2011-12 for head-butting the Flyers' Jakub Voracek, was asked if he had a message for Richards. After an eight-second pause, he said: "I'm fine for right now."

The Rangers face the Sabres next Tuesday in Buffalo.

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