Patrick Kaleta appeals 10-game ban

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Buffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta has officially appealed his 10-game suspension by the NHL for an illegal check to the head of Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson last week, the players' association confirmed Wednesday.

The punishment, which would cost Kaleta $152,439 in lost salary if upheld, was handed down Tuesday by the league's Department of Player Safety. Kaleta is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the NHLPA.

Under the new collective bargaining agreement, the new wrinkle in the appeals process is that an independent arbitrator can hear it but only after commissioner Gary Bettman does so first and decides not to change the ruling. If Bettman keeps the suspension at 10 games, Kaleta then will have a crack at the independent arbitrator.

Kaleta was suspended for five games last season after he shoved New York Rangers center Brad Richards from behind and into the boards. That ban cost Kaleta $72,000 in salary. Kaleta was suspended two other times earlier in his career.

The latest hit took place at 3:10 of the first period of Buffalo's 4-1 loss to Columbus on Thursday. Kaleta wasn't penalized in the game.

Kaleta already missed games against Chicago and Minnesota, while awaiting an in-person hearing on Tuesday. He then sat out that night's game at the New York Islanders.

If the suspension is upheld, Kaleta's lost salary would go to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund and he would be eligible to return Nov. 2 against Anaheim.

Information from ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun and The Associated Press was used in this report.