The Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks treated fans to playoff intensity Wednesday night in a 2-1 overtime decision won by Chicago. However, what may be of more consequence in the aftermath of an entertaining late-season game are the fates of Vancouver's Daniel Sedin and the Blackhawks' Duncan Keith.
Both players should be called to the carpet by the director of player discipline, Brenden Shanahan.
I'm sure up in Western Canada Canucks fans are calling for a suspension of Chicago's star defenseman following an elbow to Sedin's head, and I don't think they are wrong in doing so. The 'Hawks were fortunate the infraction, committed in the 14th minute of the first period, wasn't penalized more severely.
So yes, Shanahan should be dialing Keith sometime this morning.
However, as long as he's making calls, one should be made immediately following to Daniel Sedin.
We all have seen the elbow Keith laid on Sedin. Go back to the link above and look again. It's an illegal hit, no question. However, 'Hawks fans should be calling for Sedin to be disciplined with similar fervor.
TSN's broadcast of the game shows Keith's hit wasn't the only cheap shot in the opening period, nor was it the first.
Back in the eighth minute, the 'Hawks are killing a penalty when Keith goes into the corner to collect a loose puck. He sends it along the boards in plain view of Sedin. Well after Keith has sent the puck up the ice, Sedin continues toward Keith, coils up to deliver a hit, then brings his shoulder directly into Keith's jaw.
Who will be suspended for their head shots in Wednesday's Chicago/Vancouver game?
There is no question Sedin targeted the head. Just like Keith's hit seven minutes later, Sedin could easily have chosen not to make the hit, but did so anyway.
Most 'Hawks fans watching the game on CSN were not privy to the first hit, leaving us to wonder why Keith would do something so out of character. A look at the earlier confrontation provides more perspective.
Sedin participated in the resulting power play for the Canucks, then left the ice and did not return. Keith did not miss any time following taking Sedin's shoulder to the jaw.
Retaliatory or otherwise, Keith's hit will earn him a suspension from the league. The NHL has shown little tolerance for this type of play. I'm not absolving Keith of punishment based on a "someone hit him first" defense. Keith did the crime and should also do the time. In this case, that means at least a couple of games.
However, let's see if the NHL deems Sedin to be guilty of a similar crime.