Chicago Blackhawks: Duncan Keith Could Face Lengthy Suspension for Hit on Sedin

James MaahsContributor IIIMarch 23, 2012

UNIONDALE, NY - DECEMBER 08:  Duncan Keith #2 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on December 8, 2011 in Uniondale, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Chicago Blackhawk Duncan Keith could be facing a lengthy suspension of more than five games for his elbow to the head of Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin, according to TSN insider Bob McKenzie.

McKenzie tweeted last night that the NHL wanted an in-person hearing.

"League apparently indicated to CHI and Keith earlier today the hearing would be over phone (5 or less games)."

"Hours later, NHL indicated it wanted an in person (potential to suspend for 6 or more) hearing instead."

An in-person hearing allows Brendan Shanahan to suspend a player for more than five games. Keith was originally scheduled to have an over-the-phone hearing with Shanahan, which meant that the suspension could only be a max of five games. 

McKenzie also tweeted that Keith has not yet waived his right for the in-person hearing and that the NHL will make its final decision on Friday morning.

Why the situation has become complicated is unknown. Keith has never been suspended in his career, although the NHL is trying to crack down on hits to the head. Keith may get a lengthy suspension as an example to the rest of the league on how serious the NHL is taking head shots.

The NHL may be taking into account how long Vancouver Canucks winger Daniel Sedin will be out due to a concussion. ESPN reported that Sedin was on his way back to Vancouver Thursday for further medical evaluation.

Sedin will reportedly be out for a minimum of two weeks with a return date unclear.

Either way, the Blackhawks will be missing a top defenseman during this stretch heading into the playoffs.