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Monday, March 4, 2013
Richards misses practice Monday

By Katie Strang

Brad Richards, Patrick Kaleta
Here's a look at the aftermath of Kaleta's hit on Richards.
In what comes as no shock to anyone who saw Sunday's game, Brad Richards did not practice with the Rangers on Monday. Considering the amount of pain he appeared to still be experiencing after the game -- he was essentially wincing through his answers to questions -- Richards is due a maintenance day, at the very least.

The veteran center said he hit both his head and his neck when he was sent headfirst into the boards by the Sabres' Patrick Kaleta in the third period of the Rangers' 3-2 shootout win. After the game he said he considered himself "very fortunate" to have been able to return to the game.

Coach John Tortorella, who called Kaleta's hit "disgusting" and "ridiculous" after the game, said he does not have any long-term concerns regarding Richards' health. The 32-year-old alternate captain missed a significant amount of time due to a concussion while with the Dallas Stars back in 2011.

"He'll be fine," Tortorella said.

Meanwhile, Kaleta was slated to have a phone hearing with the NHL's Department of Player Safety at 3 p.m. on Monday. Because it is a phone hearing, the maximum suspension Kaleta could get is five games. Any ban of six games or more requires an in-person hearing.

Kaleta, who declined to speak with reporters following Sunday's game, spoke to local reporters in Buffalo, N.Y., on Monday and defended his actions.

"I just play hard, and I was on the penalty kill trying to do my job," Kaleta said, according to the Buffalo News' John Vogl.

Kaleta also told the Buffalo News that he felt like a "bag of garbage," although it was not for his hit on Richards, but rather that he put his team in a short-handed situation.

When asked if he cared to offer a message to Richards, Kaleta declined. "I'm good for now," he said.

It is not immediately clear when the NHL's disciplinary team will issue a decision, but the crew will surely take into account that Kaleta is a repeat offender.