The Chicago Blackhawks were already without one of their top defensemen on Tuesday night as Brent Seabrook missed the contest with an illness, but they fell another player sort after Duncan Keith was ejected from the game against the Minnesota Wild.
Keith was assessed a 10-minute match penalty for intent to injure after he swung his stick at Wild forward Charlie Coyle. Coyle was bloodied by the slash, which came after the forward upended Keith in the Blackhawks’ offensive zone.
Here is a video of the play:
According to Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune, the NHL Department of Player Safety is evaluating the hit, and Keith does have prior suspensions on his record. He was suspended for five games back in 2011 after throwing an elbow at the head of Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin, and he was also suspended in 2013 after hitting Los Angeles Kings forward Jeff Carter with a high-stick.
The intent to injure penalty comes with an automatic one-game suspension if it’s upheld by the league, and there’s little chance that it won’t be. The real question is whether or not Keith will get an in-person hearing, or a phone hearing, with DPS after the hit.
If he’s summoned for an in-person hearing, the league could suspend him for six or more games, and with the viciousness of the slash and the fact that Keith has prior hits on his record, there is a distinct possibility that the Blackhawks could be without their top defenseman for a decent stretch of time.