On Friday, the NHL Player Safety Committee has decided to suspend Duncan Keith for five of the seven remaining games of the regular season, according to ESPN. Personally, I think the suspension was unfair. I think Keith got away with too little. If it were another time in the year, his leave would've been longer.
I don't think Keith is a dirty player. Actually, he's one of the top defensemen in our league, and was very deserving of the Norris Trophy he won two seasons ago. He has no previous history with the disciplinary committee and has always played a clean brand of hockey.
I just think his hit on Daniel Sedin was outside the lines. Daniel Sedin had no right to deliver the hit he did before, but his hit was way less vicious than Keith's was. Either way, retribution like this is deserving of suspension, and should be dealt harshly by Shanahan and his cohorts.
He targeted the head with no intention of playing the puck and ended up disabling his opponent from remaining in the game, as is said here. This incident was very akin to the hit that got Andy Sutton suspended for eight games early in the season.
I make Marc Crawford's words mine. This is a hit that very detrimental to the game. I know, it's playoff hockey, but this is simply unacceptable. The stars, whether repeat offenders or not, need to know that they aren't immune to the rules. I also defend a suspension, that would be deemed unnecessary due to the injury that Daniel Sedin suffered on the play.
The NHL wants to create an environment where players are safe to exercise their craft to the best of their ability and, the marquee players are a big part of that environment. The league did well in giving Shane Doan a three-game hook for his elbow on Jamie Benn, and the Phoenix Coyotes are way worse than the Chicago Blackhawks on the standings despite being in seventh.
I'm sure Duncan Keith is a very good person, a respectable man and and a good role model to kids that are learning how to play hockey right now. But he needs to suffer the consequences as harsh as other players have (i.e. Andy Sutton) for similar actions no matter what time of the year it is.
The justice system doesn't give a lighter penalty on assault just because it's March. The league should have followed the same suit.