The Blackhawks have won five in a row, including an OT nail-biter against Vancouver last night. Their next game is Sunday vs. Nashville – a big one for playoff position. Too bad they’re going to have to do it without Duncan Keith:
No question that’s a dirty play. Daniel Sedin struggled back to the bench, played one more shift then went to the dressing room [link]. Keith got an elbowing minor and now everyone fully expects him to be suspended.
Shane Doan just got Shanabanned 3 games for elbowing Jamie Benn [link]. Mike Green served 3 games. But this looks more like Rene Bourque’s hit on Nicklas Backstrom (grrrrrrrrr) that earned a 5-game suspension. Both Borque and Doan are repeat offenders – this would be Keith’s first suspension. (Green’s previous suspension was more than 18 months ago, so not classified as a repeat offender – link.)
The NHL has not yet announced a hearing, but with four days till the Hawks play again there is no rush. Sedin will be re-evaluated today in Vancouver and any sustained injury considered in the case against Keith. Henrik Sedin spoke after the game, saying Keith “did what he wanted to do” [link].
The Canucks are comfortably atop their Division and could still catch St. Louis for 1st in the West and the President’s Trophy [standings]. That dream takes a dive if they lose Sedin - their only 30-goal scorer on the year. They play tomorrow night at Dallas.
Doan and Keith have both been publicly contrite about their hits [link], but who cares? Time to start thinking before you get your elbows up, boys. If you can’t do it for safety at least do it for your teams down the stretch. But really, do it for safety.