Duncan Keith suspended six games, will miss first postseason game


Duncan Keith suspended six games, will miss first postseason game

Duncan Keith was suspended six games by the Department of Player Safety on Friday for high-sticking Charlie Coyle in the Blackhawks’ 4-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night.

The defenseman will miss the Blackhawks’ final five regular-season games — including Friday’s game at Winnipeg — as well as their first two postseason games. He’s eligible to return in Game 2 of the first round.

[MORE: How will Blackhawks make up for Duncan Keith's absence?]

In their video explanation of the suspension, the department said:

“As Keith pivots to play the puck, Coyle works to establish body position with his free hand. During this, Coyle’s stick gets entangled with a teammate’s skates. The combination of a shove and the entangled stick causes Keith to lose his balance and fall to the ice. While on his back, Keith looks at Coyle, winds his armback then slashes his stick dangerously and violently directly into the face of Coyle. It’s important to note that Keith is in perfect control of his stick at all times, and this motion is made intentionally, not recklessly.

“This is not a case where two players are battling for position or puck control and a stick rides up suddenly,” the explanation continued. “This is not a defensive high stick. It is also not a case in which a player that is off balance recklessly swings his stick in an uncontrolled manner with an unexpected result. Keith looks directly at his opponent winds his arm back and then whips [the stick] forward in a chopping motion aimed at Coyle’s face.”

The video further explained that, even if Coyle had intentionally tripped Keith “it would not excuse a response of this kind.” The department compared this high stick to the one Keith had on Jeff Carter in the 2013 Western Conference final, for which he was suspended a game – “This is an intentional and retaliatory act of violence by a player with a history of using his stick as a weapon.”

Keith, who waived his in-person hearing, had his phone hearing with the department this afternoon. It’s the third suspension of Keith’s NHL career. Keith forfeits $148,883.35 in salary that goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?


Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Adam Burish and Pat Boyle discuss which Blackhawks could be on the trading block and what players are building blocks for the Hawks future.

Burish also shares a couple memorable trade deadline days and his “near” return to the Blackhawks in 2012. Plus, he makes his bold trade deadline prediction for the Hawks.

Listen to the full Blackhawks Talk Podcast right here: