The Blackhawks don’t know Duncan Keith’s suspension fate yet but they’re planning to at least be without him on Friday against the Winnipeg Jets.
Keith will have a phone hearing with the NHL's Department of Player Safety on Friday afternoon for his match penalty in Tuesday’s game. He is suspended indefinitely until that hearing and ruling. Defensive pairings reflected that on Thursday. Trevor van Riemsdyk was with Niklas Hjalmarsson, Viktor Svedberg paired with Brent Seabrook and Erik Gustafsson paired with Michal Rozsival.
Coach Joel Quenneville said he spoke to Keith “briefly,” about the incident. Keith declined to talk following practice.
[MORE HAWKS: Duncan Keith could be suspended into playoffs]
“His competitiveness is what makes him a great player,” Quenneville said of Keith. “And I just think [it’s about] being smart and knowing your limitations, or I guess the limit, is what we have to do.”
The Blackhawks will also be without Marian Hossa, who is sick and will not make the trip to Winnipeg. Artem Anisimov, who has missed the last two games with a lower-body injury and Brent Seabrook, who was ill the last game, are expected to play vs. the Jets. Scott Darling will start.
For now the Blackhawks move on without Keith, who missed 10 games earlier this season when he had knee surgery. The Blackhawks went 5-4-1 during Keith’s absence in the fall.
“We have seven [defensemen] who are ready to play. We’ve been moving guys in and out recently on the back end, pairs have been changing in games,” Quenneville said. “It’ll be a good chance for some guys to get good ice time and more quality.”
In other news, Corey Crawford could be back on the ice this weekend. Crawford has been out for more than two weeks with an upper-body injury. He’s been listed as day-to-day the entire time.
“Spoke to him a while ago. He’s really progressed well here. We expect him on the ice this weekend and go from there,” Quenneville said. “Good progress the last day or so, and I was encouraged.”