Patrick Kaleta (middle) battles Columbus’ Jack Johnson (7) and Sergei Bobrovsky (72) for the puck Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Patrick Kaleta suspended for illegal hit, has in-person hearing scheduled

BUFFALO – Sabres agitator Patrick Kaleta has been suspended pending an in-person hearing Tuesday for an illegal check to Jack Johnson’s head, the NHL announced late Friday.

The Sabres play twice – tonight in Chicago and Monday at home against Minnesota – before Kaleta meets with the NHL Department of Player Safety. In-person hearings carry a minimum five-game suspension.

The 27-year-old Kaleta wasn’t penalized after zooming into the Buffalo zone and hitting Johnson high early in Thursday’s 4-1 loss to Columbus. Jared Boll immediately fought Kaleta, who left the game and returned wearing a full face shield.

Opponents detest Kaleta. The winger’s aggressive play and history of questionable hits have put him under the microscope.

Kaleta has a long history of suspensions. The league banned him five games in March for cross-checking the New York Rangers’ Brad Richards head-first into the boards.

When Shanahan suspended Kaleta four games for head-butting Philadelphia’s Jakub Voracek in 2011-12, he cited several previous incidents.

Kaleta was also banned two games in 2009-10 for hitting Philadelphia’s Jared Ross face-first into the glass from behind.

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