Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith was ejected after a stick-swing left Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle bloodied.
The play happened with 10:33 to play in the first period of Tuesday night’s game after Keith was knocked down by a push from behind by Coyle. Rolling over on the ice, Keith recklessly swung his stick, which collided with Coyle’s nose.
Keith was given a match penalty for intent to injure by referees Tim Peel and Kyle Rehman, which includes ejection from the game and automatic suspension pending league review.
“You don’t expect that, ever, in a game,” said Coyle. “[I was] kind of stunned. No matter what happens in a game you shouldn’t swing your stick at someone’s face. Obviously, there’s no room [in the game] for that.”
The Blackhawks killed off the five-minute penalty, even managing to score a shorthanded goal.
That was all the Blackhawks would muster on the night, losing the game 4-1. Now, they’ll wait to see if they’ll also be losing their top defenseman for the next few games.
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville wasn’t concerned.
“We miss guys all year long, so I’m not worrying about hypotheticals,” Quenneville said.
Keith’s been suspended before, once for the same offense. Back in the 2013 Western Conference Final, he sat for one game after catching Kings forward Jeff Carter with a one-handed swing on a very similar play:
Keith has been suspended more than once before. Got 1 game for this stick swing at Carter in the playoffs. pic.twitter.com/3l89SuFDtk
— Stephanie (@myregularface) March 30, 2016
He was also suspended five games for elbowing Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin back in 2012. While that doesn’t make him a repeat offender under that CBA, the Department of Player Safety considers a player’s entire history when determining suspension length.
In this case, it doesn’t appear that the question is whether or not Keith will be suspended, but for how long?