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Duncan Keith offered an in-person hearing for high stick

Sarah A via flickr.com

Chicago Blackhawks star defenceman Duncan Keith has been offered an in-person hearing with the NHL’s department of player safety after high sticking Minnesota Wild forward Charlie Coyle in the Hawks 4-1 loss to the Wild on Tuesday night. After being taken down by Coyle, Keith swung his stick at Coyle, striking him in the face and drawing blood. Keith received a 5 minute major for high sticking, as well as a match penalty.

Keith will be suspended indefinitely until the league reviews the play, as well as meets with Keith, likely to see what his reasoning for the play was.  While the length of the suspension is still unknown as the league investigates, many seem to think Keith will not play again during the regular season, and his suspension could carry over into the first round of the playoffs.

While the league will not view Keith as a repeat offender, having a clean slate over the past 18 months, Keith has been suspended twice in his career before. His first came in 2012 against the Vancouver Canucks, when Keith received a 5 game suspension after elbowing Daniel Sedin in the head.

In 2013, Keith was suspended for a similar play as the one we witnessed on Tuesday. During the 2013 playoffs, Keith swung his stick at Los Angeles Kings forward Jeff Carter and hit him in the face, similar to the play against Coyle. Keith was only suspended one game for the play, but after slashing another player in the face, as well as his suspension history, Keith is likely to receive more that just the one game he was given last time.

Even though Keith could miss the rest of the regular season, and even the beginning of the playoffs, their is a silver lining for his team. The Blackhawks may be able to benefit from Keith missing some time, gaining important rest for a player who will be a work horse for the hawks in the playoffs. But even with the rest for Keith, the loss of yet another player for the hawks, who have been without goaltender Corey Crawford and center Artem Anisimov for the last couple games, as well as defemceman Brent Seabrook for their last game.

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