Blackhawks will 'move on and learn' from Duncan Keith suspension


Blackhawks will 'move on and learn' from Duncan Keith suspension

By Jeff Hamilton

WINNIPEG - The Blackhawks may be without Duncan Keith for the rest of the regular season and Game 1 of their first round playoff series, but they know it could have been worse.

Keith, who was handed down a six-game suspension by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety Friday evening for a high-stick on Minnesota forward Charlie Coyle in the first period of Tuesday’s loss to the Wild, will certainly be missed. After all, the Hawks will be missing their best player down the stretch, the guy they lean on to log the most minutes, many of which come during the most important situations in a game.

[MORE: Duncan Keith suspended six games, will miss first postseason game]

But they also know he’ll return; a return that will come in time for what they hope will be another deep postseason run in defending last year’s title. And it’s because of that they can take the news with a deep breath, and a sigh or relief.

“I’m not the one who picks the amount of games so the less, the better,” said Scott Darling, who made 28 saves in a 5-4 overtime win over the Jets Friday night to close out a four-game road trip with a record of 3-1.

“We’re going to miss him no matter what but it could have been more so we’re happy it’s only one (playoff) game.”

Brent Seabrook, the hero in Friday’s game with the game-winning goal one minute four seconds into overtime, also made no bones about the length of Keith’s suspension. But he also knows what it means to lose a leader both on and off ice. And the way the team has been playing — the Hawks are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games — he's aware of the up-hill battle ahead of him and his teammates.

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“We’re obviously glad it’s not more (games),” he said. “He’s such a valuable part of this team and Game 1 of the playoffs, it’s going to be a war as it always is. It’s a team of 20 players, being out there we’re all going to have to band together and pick up the slack for Dunc and we’re sure he’ll be coming for Game 2.”

“As a group of six back there (on defense) we’re going to have to be at our best. We got to take some of the load on our shoulders and get the job done.”

As for coach Joel Quenneville, who with the rest of the Blackhawks’ coaching staff were the only ones on the bench that knew about the suspension before puck drop, he refused to see the one playoff game as a bonus for his team, even though he said he respected the league’s decision.

“One playoff game is very big when you know his importance to our team and the minutes he absorbs,” he said. “We’ll take it, move on and learn from it as well.”

Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center


Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center

After being on the receiving end of some racist taunts while he was in the penalty box during Saturday's game against the Blackhawks, Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly spoke publicly about the incident.

Smith-Pelly, a 25-year-old Canadian, reacted to the fans while he was in the box, going up to them from the other side of the glass. He addressed questions from the media about the incident on Sunday.

"I just heard some chanting, some, I guess, racially charged chanting," Smith-Pelly said. "You can tell by my reaction that I got pretty upset.

"What was said this time around crossed the line."

The Capitals released a statement about the incident:

"The Washington Capitals are extremely disappointed by the intolerant behavior extended toward Devante Smith-Pelly by a select group of fans during Saturday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. The Capitals organization strives to be inclusive and has zero tolerance concerning any form of racism. Such behavior is unacceptable and has no place in hockey or society. As such, it is crucial to confront such appalling conduct, and the Capitals extend their appreciation to the Blackhawks organization and United Center security for swiftly removing the fans from the game."

The Blackhawks released a statement after the game with a similar tone.

Smith-Pelly said this has happened previously in his career.

"It's sad that in 2018 we're still talking about the same thing over and over," Smith-Pelly said. "It's sad that athletes like myself 30, 40 years ago were standing in the same spot saying the same thing. You'd think there'd be some sort of change or progression, but we're still working towards it I guess and we're going to keep working towards it."

The Capitals released the full interview.

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals


Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.

Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.

Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:

After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:

Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident: