Following a hearing Wednesday afternoon with NHL Director of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan, the league decided to suspend Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith one game for his high stick on Los Angeles Kings forward Jeff Carter.
The play, which occurred after Carter slashed Keith in the wrist in the Hawks’ defensive zone, set off a firestorm of controversy, as fans and pundits alike argued whether or not Keith should receive a ban. For fan discussion of the play, you can click here.
If you missed the play, here it is:
Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford had some thoughts on the play, and 670 The Score's Adam Hoge has the quotes:
Corey Crawford: "Maybe should look at the two slashes Carter threw at (Keith's) hand right before that. He took a couple shots at him." — Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) June 5, 2013
Here is what Shanahan had to say about the play:
An interesting note in the video is that Shanahan makes sure to say that he didn't believe that the play should be punished because it was reckless. He made sure to say that the suspension was as a result of the injury sustained by Carter (20 stitches, and damaged teeth) and also because of Keith's status as a repeat offender, which is a result of the elbow he got Vancouver forward Daniel Sedin with last season that Keith was suspended five games for.
That line of reasoning for the suspension is, in a word, ludicrous. If Shanahan believes that Keith intentionally hit Carter in the head, and also took into account his status as a repeat offender, then the suspension should have been longer. Pierre Marc Bouchard was suspended for two games last season for hitting Matt Calvert in the face with a deliberate high stick, and he was NOT a repeat offender.
The insinuation also that Carter may not have hit Keith's arm on the play is also patently ludicrous. It seems to be a disingenious dodge of the question of whether or not Carter should be culpable for the dirty play that he engaged in earlier in the play, and Hawks fans angry about the way Shanahan phrased that portion of his explanation have every right to be upset.
Obviously, the league's decision is final, so the Hawks will have to try to pick themselves up and win Game 4 without their defensive leader.