The National Hockey League has suspended Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith for six games, which will include Game 1 of the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, for a dangerous high sticking incident on Charlie Coyle of the Minnesota Wild.
There are five games remaining in Chicago’s regular season schedule, including Friday’s contest with the Winnipeg Jets. The league handed down its decision just prior to puck drop.
“While on his back, Keith looks at Coyle, winds his arm back then slashes his stick dangerously and violently directly into the face of Coyle,” a league official explains in a video.
“This motion is made intentionally, not recklessly. This is not a case where two players are battling for position or puck control and a stick rides up suddenly. This is not a defensive high stick.
“This is an intentional and retaliatory act of violence by a player with a history of using his stick as a weapon.”
Keith, who has had a history of supplemental discipline from the league, was given a match penalty on the play. He waived his right to an in-person hearing scheduled for Friday.
Despite their struggles of late, going 3-5-2 in their last 10 games, the Blackhawks have secured a playoff position.
Keith is the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the playoff MVP a year ago, when he was sensational on the blue line for the Blackhawks, logging heavy minutes in their Stanley Cup run.