Duncan Keith was offered an in-person hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety for his high-sticking match penalty against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night.
An in-person hearing means the infraction could result in a suspension of six games or more. Keith can waive his right to the in-person hearing and, instead, have it over the phone.
Keith was assessed his match penalty for “intent to injure” 9:27 into the first period of the Blackhawks’ 4-1 loss to the Wild. After Charlie Coyle tripped Keith, the defenseman swung his stick and hit Coyle in the face. Coyle was bloodied but would finish the game.
Keith has been suspended two previous times in his career. He was suspended five games for elbowing Daniel Sedin in the head in March 2012 and was suspended one game for high-sticking Jeff Carter in June 2013 (Western Conference final). Even though Keith does not qualify as a repeat offender – the most recent suspension has to be within the last 18 months – a player’s history could still be considered in determining supplemental discipline.
Coach Joel Quenneville said following Tuesday’s game that he just took “a quick peek” at the replay following Keith’s penalty. He didn’t want to comment at the time on what could happen regarding Keith. The Blackhawks did not practice on Wednesday.
It’s possible Keith’s suspension could include some postseason games. The Blackhawks have five regular-season games remaining, including their game in Winnipeg on Friday. Keith missed a month after having right-knee surgery earlier this season and the Blackhawks went 5-4-1 in his absence.
“We’ve done it before,” Jonathan Toews said. “Obviously what Duncs means to us, whatever happens we’ll make the best of any situations. That’s the only way we can look at it.”