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Duncan Keith suspended five games for elbowing Daniel Sedin

Mar 23, 2012, 6:11 PM EDT

Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith has been suspended five games for elbowing Canucks forward Daniel Sedin in the head Wednesday in Chicago.

Here’s NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan’s explanation video:

“Keith’s hit was dangerous, reckless and caused injury,” Shanahan said. “We’ve also taken into account Keith’s supplemental discipline record, which includes no suspensions and one fine over seven NHL seasons.”

The punishment was levied following a telephone hearing Friday afternoon. The league had requested an in-person meeting with Keith, which he waived his right to.

Prior to being suspended, Keith spoke with CSN Chicago about the incident and possible punishment.

“I think I’m a pretty stand-up player out on the ice,” he said. “The NHL will make a decision, I respect all the decisions they make.”

Keith’s elbow on Sedin forced the Canucks forward from Wednesday’s game. He later left the team’s current road trip, missing Thursday night’s game in Dallas, to return to Vancouver for further medical evaluation.

According to Jim Jamieson of the Vancouver Province, Henrik Sedin confirmed his brother suffered a concussion and that it was the first one of his playing career.

Other notes:

— Shanahan’s issued three suspensions to Chicago this year, second only to Buffalo (four). That said, two of them were to Daniel Carcillo, who received two games for hitting Joni Pitkanen from behind in October, then seven games for boarding Tom Gilbert in January.

— This is the fifth elbowing suspension of the year:

Oct. 28, 2011: Andy Sutton on Gabriel Landeskog (five games)
Dec. 7, 2011: Ville Leino on Matt Read (one game)
Jan. 3, 2012: Rene Bourque on Nicklas Backstrom (five games)
Mar. 20, 2012: Shane Doan on Jamie Benn (three games)

— Keith will miss Chicago’s games against Nashville,  New Jersey, St. Louis, Nashville (again) and Minnesota. He’ll be eligible to return to the lineup on Thursday, Apr. 5 against the Wild (second game of a home-and-home.)

— Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and based on his average annual salary, Keith will forfeit $149,688.15. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

— Quote from Canucks assistant GM Laurence Gilman: “We respect the league’s decision. That being said, our primary concern is Daniel’s health and well being. We look forward to him having a full recovery, becoming fit and returning to our lineup as soon as possible.” (Vancouver Sun)

  1. warpstonebc - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    How many games can we suspend the officials and Terry Gregson for making a complete mockery of game-time discipline all season?

    Cowards beget cowardice up and down the NHL’s staff.

  2. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    This hit is garbage and has no place in the game. Shanny had a chance to send a message that hits like this won’t be tolerated but he blew it.

    • leepetertk - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:34 PM

      I did not feel like Shanahan addressed the predatory nature of this hit. He singled out Wisniewski and Marchand for predatory hits because of an earlier incident. This time, Shanahan barely mentions the earlier contact from D. Sedin, and does not include predatory intent as one of the deciding factors (elbowing, no history, and injury) for the suspension.

      I think this suspension should have been closer to the 8 games Wisniewski received at the start of the season taking into account predatory intent as retaliation for an earlier incident.

      I wonder if the optics were different because the playoffs are fast approaching. I hope suspensions will be a result of what action has taken place. I don’t like basing a suspension on other things like whether it was a star player, how badly injured was the victim, and how will a possible suspension affect the standings/playoffs.

      • gallyhatch - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:52 PM

        I agree. While I didn’t think suspending Keith for the playoffs would be fair for a guy with no history of suspensions, I think Shannahan missed a major issue here by neglecting the predatory nature of this hit. Keith clearly lined Sedin up and blasted him. Like lepetertk said, if he’s going to consider that with Wisniewski & Marchand, why ignore it with Keith? The lack of consistency = a lack of credibility for the NHL and that sucks for the people who love this game.

        And the injury thing bothers me alot. The offense is the hit, not the result. Why should the result have any bearing on the punishment? Would that hit would be okay if Sedin got up & kept skating? Or it would have only been half as bad if Sedin missed a period? It doesn’t make sense to me.

    • wheelinbeauties21 - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:22 PM

      5 games is a pretty solid message… especially when you consider the fact Sedin elbowed him in the head 6 minutes prior which was missed by the officials. Not to mention Keith has a relatively clean history.

      Don’t get me wrong though because I agree this kind of behavior doesn’t belong in the game but I feel the suspension is quite fair. However it is unfair to compare them but if you start comparing the recent and past suspensions then yes it is very unfair.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:31 PM

        Who cares about his history? He was retaliating and delivered an absolutely vicious hit to Sedin’s head. If the NHL was serious about getting these types of hits out of the game they would have ignored everything except the hit and the intent and then punished him accordingly. Sit him for the rest of the season, maybe even a playoff game, and he along with most players would probably think twice about throwing this kin dof reckless hit.

      • haterzgonahate - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:32 PM

        really? didn’t know Sedin’s elbows were attached to his shoulders…it was a clean but slightly late hit for christ sakes!!

      • interiorfan - Mar 26, 2012 at 11:31 AM

        Sedin din not elbow Keith in the head…perhaps you should watch it again and if Keith has a relatively clean history (in the fact that he has not been previously suspended), then Daniel Sedin has a squeaky clean history. Sorry, it was a dirty, dangerous hit no matter how you spin it.

  3. whatswellydoing - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    It could easily and maybe should have been more. I’d bet his lack of suspension history was the only thing that allowed him to play again this regular season.

    • velocirapist - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:45 PM

      It seems like they’re focusing more on taking individual repetitive dirty hitters out of the game than taking the actual hits out.

  4. cableguymike - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    Shanny would have given him more but he felt that Keith’s jujitsu technique was weak and therefore not worthy of a stiffer suspension.

    Can someone explain to me how Shanny is doing a better job than Gregory Campbell’s dad/honorary Boston Bruin Colin Campbell?

    Nothing’s really changed.

    • DTF31 - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:33 PM

      He’s caved to the GM’s who only want the suspensions when its the other team.

  5. velocirapist - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    I think previous similar incidents should be taken into account. This is similar to Bourque’s, and they got the same suspension. So, anybody who does something similar can reasonably expect to get no more than 5 games if they have no prior history. Even though everyone knows this hit is illegal, they know the punishment is fairly light.

    The entire league’s prior history as a whole should be considered. Keith should’ve seen the Bourque hit and known it wasn’t acceptable. Even though he was never punished personally, there’s no plausible explanation for him thinking this was a hockey play.

    5 games is a sterner punishment than I expected, but I thought he should miss the rest of the regular season.

    • elvispocomo - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:15 PM

      Nevermind the Bourque hit, Keith should have seen the Doan elbow from just one night before and known it wasn’t going to fly. Combine that with Benn having the puck but Daniel never touching it, minus for Doan’s ‘repeat offender’ status, and 5 games is what I thought he’d max at. I would have been surprised if he’d gotten 6, 7 or more – not because of whether or not it warranted it, but because of what we’ve seen for suspensions on similar plays.

      It’s a far cry from the Domi suspension after his elbow to Niedermeyer back in 2001 though:

  6. salmon90 - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    You wonder if it was Alex Burrows who made the hit on say…Patrick Sharp. Burrows obviously has a reputation around the league but it’s largely for agitating as he’s never been suspended for any cheap shots. As previous suspensions are factored into the equation what do you think he would get?

  7. adiosron - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    Just curious – why did the broadcasters feel compelled to look up in the game videos of anything Daniel Sedin did that might have caused Duncan Keith to hit him so recklessly? Of all the illegal hits, have you EVER seen them do something like this?

    This reminds me of the exclusion of information used to defend Todd Marchand’s “lowbridge” hit on Sami Salo in January. Marchand says he was defending himself, yet in the game footage, Marchand can be seen hitting Salo not once, but twice in the head just before the lowbridge. Why wasn’t that footage shown to show Marchand’s predatory behaviour?

    Interesting how the Canucks are treated differently in the media…and it was the same referee O’Halleron who infamously watched Marchand punch Sedin in the face 6 times in the Finals before calling Sedin for unsportsmanlike conduct for GETTING punched 6 times.

    Wake up NHL. Your sense of justice and fair play is on shaky ground if not gone already.

    • elvispocomo - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:23 PM

      Shanahan did comment during the Marchand suspension video about the previous play where the same hit happened but the players went shoulder to shoulder and were fine. He noted Marchand pursued Salo (not necessarily anything specific about punches IIRC), and that was why it was predatory.

      With Daniel’s hit having been 6 minutes prior, I can see how they don’t want to use it to draw a correlation. Unless they have direct evidence that was why Keith did what he did, or it immediately preceded the elbow, it’s hard to have that play a major role in the suspension.

      The elbow on it’s own was certainly bad enough to warrant more games than what Doan, a repeat offender, got for his. They recognized Keith knew what he was doing and punished him as a result. I already mentioned it could have been more (Domi out for the rest of the playoffs!) but this is Shanahan’s measuring stick, which is different even from last year’s and he’s trying to get it right.

      People have mentioned it though, that even a hit like Weisnewski’s was longer, as were others at the beginning of the season, and it’s gotten less, but I’ll give him leeway for that as he’s trying to find the right balance. The GMs certainly are having their say, but that’s going to affect all teams, not be biased against one or another.

    • scottybcboy - Mar 23, 2012 at 8:29 PM

      Marchand got 12 PIMs for speed bagging Sedin….yeah O’Halloran is biased against the ‘Nucks….12 minutes, what do you want? His head on a platter?

      • davebabychreturns - Mar 24, 2012 at 12:23 AM

        I think the objection is to the fact that Sedin got 10 for getting punched in the face.

  8. tru2joelu4eva - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    wow, that was just as spineless as everyone should’ve known it was going to be. we’ve officially reached nba-level dignity.

  9. phillyphever - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    Fair punishment.

    • phillyphever - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:24 PM

      And lets face it guys, it’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t kind of situation for Shanny. Suspend him for a long time: people complain. Suspend him for a short time: people complain. Heck, Goodell’s taking some heat for suspending Payton for a full year from Bountygate (mostly Saints fans, but still). No matter what decision he makes, someone’s gonna have a complaint about it (in this case, Nucks fans).

      • hockinj25 - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:38 PM

        Totally agree. No matter what he does, people disagree.

      • odj810 - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:46 PM

        absolutely. You can tell how much people disagree just in conversation about suspensions. Sure he could do a better job but lets just be realistic and say his job is anything but easy

  10. wethog66 - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    Bourque’s Jan. 3rd elbow on Backstrom was way more blatant, and Nicky hasn’t played since. Bourque only got 5 games so Shanaban is at least consistent with giving 5 to Keith.

  11. iamanidiotfan - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    The five game mark seems to be consistent with a chicken-wing elbow and Keith’s lack of a track record.

    What I’m curious about is what impact the non-call will have on the referees. Pretty clear now that Keith should have gotten a major and a game misconduct for his elbow in the game in addition to his suspension.

    • vanchuk - Mar 23, 2012 at 8:52 PM

      Mmmmmm chicken wings

  12. scottybcboy - Mar 23, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    I’m surprised he got 5 games. Shanny should have given him more, IMO, but I expected less considering the last few rulings. All in all a pretty fair ruling…for once.

  13. vanchuk - Mar 23, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    5 games is consistent with most of the previous suspensions…but they’re ALL too lenient! When Aaron Rome got 4 SCF games for interference, I was upset that they decided to usher in a new era of supplemental discipline in the finals, but if they were to keep that up, then I was fine with it… only, they haven’t. If that punishment were carried over, Keith would probably be missing the rest of the regular season and maybe 4-7 first round games. That would be a message that players would take note of, this? I don’t think so. 5 games is exactly what I expected him to get and it makes sense, seeing as what previous suspensions have been. But I think they need it to seriously revisit supplemental discipline standard with the new CBA

    • scottybcboy - Mar 23, 2012 at 9:17 PM

      I felt the same way after the Marchand clipping suspension….not a good time to set a new standard but if that is the way it will be from now on, fine. Unfortunately that wasn’t the new standard, just a one off spin of the ‘justice wheel’. Other players have committed the same act and got nothing, not even a hearing….welcome to the inconsistency of supplemental discipline!

  14. johnnyru131 - Mar 23, 2012 at 9:03 PM

    The 5 game suspension is WELL WORTH it knowing that at least he knocked out the Girly Sedin for trying to take his head off. Go Hawks and F the Canucks, you cry baby hair pulling can’t win a Stanley Cup losers!!!!!

  15. kcprof926 - Mar 23, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    Man we are making this sound like Keith hit the sister over the head with a stick. If Sedin is back on the ice in two weeks it was never a concussion and just a reason to rest him and watch the Hawks get punished.

  16. craigmaitland - Mar 23, 2012 at 11:34 PM

    2nd rate league. Bourque hits a guy with the puck in a somewhat hockey play and he gets 5 games. Keith assaults a former scoring champ without the puck Ina blatant attempt to injure. And he gets the same suspension. … Not to mention the refs missing it.

  17. modellforprez - Mar 24, 2012 at 1:22 AM

    too light way too light he should have gotten life in maximum state penn. its grim there is no room for this in the game of sticks and pucks shanny dropped the puck on this

    • drewsylvania - Mar 24, 2012 at 12:04 PM

      You’re getting downthumbed just for the handle.

  18. crusty14 - Mar 24, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    I think the point all you Canuck fans are missing is that Sedin should have done something , rather than stand there and take several punches on the head! Sheesh! Even a moron would at least take cover after two or three!

    • gallyhatch - Mar 24, 2012 at 12:04 PM

      Nail on the head crusty14, but it’s easier to hate the refs & Marchand & blame Colin Campbell & come up with a million other excuses than to admit that they got beat by a better team, or just flat out blew it.

  19. drewsylvania - Mar 24, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    It’s almost like Shanny has no power and has to change his own rules to suit the owners.

    This is definitely happening.

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