Chicago Blackhawks: How Long Could Duncan Keith Be Suspended?

Michael GibbonsCorrespondent IIMarch 23, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 21: Dave Bolland #36 of the Chicago Blackhawks holds off Kevin Bieksa #3 of the Vancouver Canucks as he tries to fight with Duncan Keith #2 at the United Center on March 21, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Duncan Keith is going to get suspended for his hit on Daniel Sedin, there is no way around it.

Originally it was assumed that he would receive a suspension comparable to the one Shane Doan received this week. Doan who is a repeat offender received a three-game suspension for elbowing Jamie Bennin in the head.

That was before Nick Kypreos, an analyst on Sportsnet in Canada, tweeted this out late Thursday:

Hearing tonite #NHL has in fact decided to ask #Blackhawks D. Keith to waive his right to in person hearing for elbow on #Canucks D. Sedin

— Nick Kypreos (@RealKyper) March 23, 2012

Meaning Keith could receive 5 or more games. Also told his #NHL hearing could be pushed back much later then the one scheduled for Fri 2pm.

Are you serious?

Keith was scheduled to have his hearing over the phone on Friday afternoon, so it was assumed it would be under five games. All suspensions longer than five games requires an in-person meeting.

Keith is a first-time offender and a five-game suspension seems completely over the top. Could this be because his hit is being viewed as retaliation?

Sedin delivered a high hit on Keith just minutes before Keith delivered his blow to the head. That might indicate that Keith intentionally went high. This is exactly the sort of thing the NHL is trying to stop so they might take this chance to send a message.

It is unclear if Sedin will receive any punishment for his hit. He did miss the Canucks' Thursday night game against the Stars. Would it be fair to suspend Keith but not punish Sedin just because he is hurt?

I wouldn't think so but with so little time to evaluate his injury the NHL may just pass and assume the time he misses will serve as a suspension.

With only seven games left and the Blackhawks fighting for playoff positioning this could be a huge blow to the team. Remember, they are still without captain Jonathan Toews who has been out since February 19.

Keith is suspended indefinitely so even if the hearing does not occur on Friday, he will not play Sunday against Nashville. The next game after that is Tuesday in New Jersey, so it'd be easy for Keith to meet with the NHL's dean of discipline Brendan Shanahan on Monday or Tuesday.

So what do you think? Does Keith deserve a suspension that may cost him the regular season? 

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