Things are not always as perfect as they seem, even for a dynasty.
Chicago Blackhawks’ work-horse defenseman Duncan Keith may face a lengthy suspension for his slash on Charlie Coyle of the Minnesota Wild:
Keith received a match penalty with the intent to injure, and with the intent to injure comes an automatic one-game suspension (if it’s upheld by the league).
The NHL Department of Player Safety is already looking at the incident, and with that in mind remember that Keith has had suspensions before: five games back in 2011 for elbowing the head of Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin, and one game in 2013 after hitting Los Angeles Kings forward Jeff Carter with a high-stick.
With his previous record and the severity of this recent slash, and if Keith has an in-person hearing, I believe that he’ll at least be out for the remainder of the regular season.
Keith is the backbone of Chicago’s defense alongside Brent Seabrook, who also missed last game due to an illness. With these players out, the ‘Hawks defense is going to have to scramble.
Keith averages 25 minutes a game and obviously has shoes that are hard to fill. With him and possibly Seabrook being out, fellow D-man Niklas Hjalmarsson is going to have a sizable work load to carry around. He’s already been just as important and valuable on the blue line for the Hawks but everything is now escalated for him at this point.
There’s no new information on Keith’s status yet, however, it shouldn’t take long for a decision to be made on something like this. He is a well-respected player throughout the league, but a slash to the face is a slash to the face, and some sort of punishment is due.
Stay tuned for updates, pending a response from the NHL.