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Ex-NHL referee: Keith deserved match penalty for deliberate attempt to injure, should get minimum five-game suspension

Mar 22, 2012, 4:40 PM EDT

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Chicago Blackhawks

According to former NHL referee Kerry Fraser, the punishment levied against Duncan Keith didn’t fit the crime.

That’s what Fraser wrote on his blog Thursday in the wake of Keith’s headshot on Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin — the Chicago defenseman received a two-minute elbowing penalty on a hit that forced Sedin out of the contest and left him with a suspected concussion.

Fraser says the referees working the game, Dan O’Halloran and Francois St. Laurent, got the call wrong.

The deliberate elbow delivered by Duncan Keith directly to the head of Daniel Sedin was at bare minimum a five-minute major and game misconduct for elbowing. The best call would have been a match penalty under Rule 45.5 for deliberate attempt to injure under the elbowing rule!

Duncan Keith demonstrated absolutely no intent on playing the puck that flew off the glass and was well out of range of Sedin when contact was made. Instead, once the opportunity for a payback on Daniel’s non-penalized shoulder contact to Keith’s head six and a half minutes earlier reared its ugly head, Duncan Keith seized the moment in an open-ice assault.  

As Daniel turned to look up ice and follow the puck, Duncan Keith’s elbow was elevated, cocked and planted with force directly to the head of a surprised Daniel Sedin.

The issue of retribution has come up on numerous occasions. It will be interesting to see how NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan views Keith’s motives, as it was Shanahan that suspended Boston’s Brad Marchand for a “predatory” low-bridge hit on Vancouver’s Sami Salo in January.

The word “predatory” was key because Shanahan believed the hit was in response to an earlier shoulder-check from Salo.

“This scenario played out 16 seconds earlier,” Shanahan said at the time. “Marchand was able to deliver and absorb a clean check on Salo, but Marchand shows clear frustration from the hit. Retribution is not a defense for clipping a player.”

If Shanahan is looking for advice on suspensions, Fraser has a few ideas. He feels Keith should get a “minimum” five-game suspension and Sedin should get one for his “careless” hit.
  1. loinstache - Mar 22, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Totally unrelated to this call but I highly recommend reading Fraser’s blog. I know a lot of people on different teams are frustrated with the officiating, and Kerry often gives a very interesting view point from that perspective… and often it’s quite critical. He’s a good writer and isn’t afraid to point out when a official is flat-out wrong, as well as offer opinions from the reffs side on more grey-area calls. Makes you wish he was still calling the game, or at least involved in a greater capacity.

    • kitshky - Mar 22, 2012 at 5:02 PM

      Ya it does my head in to admit this after “hating” him growing up, and I don’t always agree with him …but it is a pretty good read eh.

  2. loinstache - Mar 22, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    From that same article:
    “In too many situations witnessed this season, the officials have either missed the mark altogether or came up short by at least three minutes plus a game misconduct. The judgment of the referees needs to be collectively and immediately retooled by NHL V.P. of Officiating, Terry Gregson, to conform to a higher standard that is currently being maintained by the Player Safety Committee.”

  3. govtminion - Mar 22, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    …odd to hear Fraser, of all people, talking about poor officiating.

  4. velocirapist - Mar 22, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    Fraser’s blog is absolutely excellent, but I think he’s seeing how much easier it is to talk about good officiating than practice it.

    • kitshky - Mar 22, 2012 at 8:08 PM

      Totally, particularly ironic that he was one of the arrogant stubborn officials of his time too.

  5. namriverrat69 - Mar 22, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    Arrogant might be soft soaping it a bit. He did keep a can of hair spray in his back pocket at all times.

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