Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Middletown, N. J. – Duncan Keith has been playing outstanding hockey during the Chicago Blackhawks playoff run which has led them to the Western conference finals.
With Chicago holding a 2-1 series lead after dropping game three last night at Staples Center, his future in this series could be in serious doubt as he awaits word whether he will get a message from NHL head disciplinarian Brenden Shanahan that his run-in with Jeff Carter last night is under review for a possible suspension.
The play happened midway through the second period. Keith and Carter tangled and jostled to the left of Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford. As the play moved up ice and Keith went to retrieve his glove, Carter gave him a whack across the hands. Clearly in frustration mode the Blackhawks defenseman then proceeded to hit Carter in the side of the face with his stick, much in the same manner a beer softball league outfielder might take a cut at a looping pitch with an injured wing on his left side. (sorry had to make the reference-I have seen it way too much over past summers at local parks. haha)
The fact that Keith appeared completely conciliatory immediately afterwards, we do not know exactly what his mind was thinking or what was said as he drifted over to Carter as he lay on the ice. Even after the game, when Keith and Kings forward Justin Williams acknowledged that it was an accident, at the end of the day all Shanahan is left with is the tape and Keith’s prior history (which is not sparkling after his elbowing incident with Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks).
I am in no way comparing Keith to Marty McSorely as a player, pugilist or otherwise. However, while the intentions, I would safely assume, were much different – the act was not.
After seeing Matt Cooke escape suspension for his hit from behind against the Bruins and Dave Bolland not even getting a penalty for taking a flying leap at Mike Richards head in game one (which has now knocked Richards out, literally, of the last two games with concussion symptoms) nobody knows exactly what to expect from Shanahan on this matter. In fact, one could argue that his attitude towards these incidents bears resemblance to the entire officiating corundum the league finds themselves in. Inconsistency rules and trying to predict any outcome from a situation that requires a look at the rule book is fruitless and a very good lesson in futility.
Here is the play in question..what say you hockey fans? Should Keith be suspended for his actions? Vote in the poll below the video.