On Friday, the National Hockey League announced a six-game suspension for Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith, following his dangerous slash to the face of Minnesota Wild forward Charlie Coyle Tuesday night.
The suspension will keep the Blackhawks’ star defenseman out for the remainder of the regular season and one playoff game.
“Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith has been suspended for six games, without pay, for high-sticking Minnesota Wild forward Charlie Coyle during NHL Game No. 1146 in St. Paul on Tuesday, March 29, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.
The suspension includes the Blackhawks’ final five regular-season games and first Stanley Cup Playoff game. The incident occurred at 9:27 of the first period. Keith was assessed a match penalty for high-sticking.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Keith will forfeit $148,883.35. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.”
All things considered, it’s a slap on the wrist for Keith.
The former Norris Trophy winner has been suspended twice before, and the slash on Coyle was both stupid and dangerous. Considering those factors, it seemed like a given he would get a double-digit suspension this time around (or at least more than six games).
The NHL said Keith’s high-stick was intentional, yet the punishment doesn’t match the explanation. The way it’s explained — that Keith will miss the regular season and a playoff game — makes it sound like a bigger punishment than it is. Six games is really light, especially considering a majority of the games are meaningless for the perennial Stanley Cup favorite Blackhawks.
Keith is too good to continually be this stupid. He’s lucky Coyle wasn’t seriously hurt and that the NHL, for whatever reason, has his back.