March 23, 2012
Keith gets five games for cheap shotD-man elbowed Sedin in head
By HOSEA CHEUNG, QMI Agency
Duncan Keith will have plenty of time to think about what he shouldn't have done.
Two days after delivering a "reckless" elbow to the head of Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin, the Chicago Blackhawks defenceman was suspended five games by NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan.
"This is an illegal hit defined by NHL rules as elbowing," Shanahan said on NHL.com. "Regardless of Keith's assertion that the intent on this play was to impede Sedin's progress as opposed to a retaliation on an earlier hit, Keith's hit was still dangerous … and caused injury."
Shanahan added he also took Keith's history — no suspension and one fine over seven seasons — into consideration.
In Wednesday's clash between the two rivals at the United Center, Keith was given a two-minute minor after the cheap shot on the Canucks winger, who did not have possession of the puck, in the neutral zone during the first period.
Minutes earlier, Daniel had laid a check on Keith in the corner boards.
Canucks captain Henrik Sedin suggested afterwards a threat was made in between the two incidents.
"It's one of those hits where things were said before from a certain guy," Henrik told reporters. "He did what he wanted to. That's too bad. They're a tough team over there and we're the diving bunch. So there's not much to say about that."
Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault also called the elbow deliberate and "everything you're trying to take out of the game."
Keith, at the time, said it was an accident, adding, "it's a fast game."
"I'm not trying to hurt anybody," Keith said. "I hope he's OK. He's one of their best players."
Daniel left the game, which Chicago eventually won 2-1 in overtime, and is out indefinitely after reportedly returning to Vancouver Thursday night to be further evaluated. Meanwhile, the Canucks skated to a 2-1 win over the Dallas Stars without their top winger Thursday — the second game missed by Daniel this season after he sat out a Dec. 15 contest against the Carolina Hurricanes with a stiff back.
The 2010-11 Art Ross winner leads the Canucks with 30 goals and has 67 points in 72 games.
Keith has four goals and 36 assists in 72 games for the Blackhawks, who sat sixth in the Western Conference prior to Friday's NHL action.
The Chicago blueliner was originally scheduled to a phone hearing Friday — which would have meant a suspension of no more than five games — but was then asked to waive his right to an in-person meeting with the league department of player safety.
The Blackhawks play next on Sunday against the Nashville Predators.