Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith was offered an in-person hearing to discuss his hit on Minnesota Wild forward Charlie Coyle, but he has instead opted for a phone hearing, the NHL Department of Player Safety announced Thursday night.
The phone hearing will take place on Friday afternoon, before the Blackhawks’ scheduled game against the Winnipeg Jets.
Keith will not be playing in the game, as he serves an automatic one-game suspension that came with the match penalty he was assessed for the hit on Tuesday night.
The defenseman was originally offered an in-person hearing by DOPS, meaning that the league has the option to suspend him for six or more games. Instead, Keith will participate in the hearing over the phone, but the longer timeframe for a potential ban is still on the table.
Keith was kicked out of Tuesday night’s game against the Wild after slashing Coyle in the face with his stick. Coyle was seen bleeding profusely after the play, which began when the forward up-ended Keith in the Blackhawks’ offensive zone. Keith retaliated, while still laying on the ice, by swinging his stick and drilling Coyle in the face.
This isn’t the first time that Keith has retaliated to an opponent’s actions by swinging his stick at them. In the 2013 playoffs, Jeff Carter slashed Keith on the hand, and the defenseman responded by hitting Carter in the side of the head with his stick blade.
He received a one-game suspension for that infraction, and while that suspension won’t be counted against Keith on an official basis (repeat offender status is only given to those that have committed an infraction in the last 18 months), it certainly could play into the league’s decision on how long to suspend him this time.