No further discipline will be coming down on Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith for his dangerous hit on Calgary’s Dillon Dube.
Keith was given a major penalty for boarding along with a game misconduct by referees Ian Walsh and Tim Peel.
Dube did not return to the game. He remains out of the Flames’ lineup, with head coach Bill Peters saying only that he remains under evaluation as part of concussion protocol.
Here’s the NHL Rulebook on Boarding (Rule 41):
A boarding penalty shall be imposed on any player who checks or pushes a defenseless opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to hit or impact the boards violently or dangerously. The severity of the penalty, based upon the impact with the boards, shall be at the discretion of the Referee.
There is an enormous amount of judgment involved in the application of this rule by the Referees. The onus is on the player applying the check to ensure his opponent is not in a defenseless position and if so, he must avoid or minimize contact. However, in determining whether such contact could have been avoided, the circumstances of the check, including whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the check or whether the check was unavoidable can be considered. This balance must be considered by the Referees when applying this rule.
Any unnecessary contact with a player playing the puck on an obvious “icing” or “off-side” play which results in that player hitting or impacting the boards is “boarding” and must be penalized as such. In other instances where there is no contact with the boards, it should be treated as “charging.”
41.2 Minor Penalty – The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a minor penalty, based on the degree of violence of the impact with the boards, to a player guilty of boarding an opponent.
41.3 Major Penalty – The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a major penalty, based on the degree of violence of the impact with the boards, to a player guilty of boarding an opponent (see 41.5).
41.4 Match Penalty – The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a match penalty if, in his judgment, the player attempted to or deliberately injured his opponent by boarding.
41.5 Game Misconduct Penalty – When a major penalty is imposed under this rule for a foul resulting in an injury to the face or head of an opponent, a game misconduct shall be imposed.
Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos agreed with the call under the guidelines established in the rulebook.
“If I’m watching this,” Kypreos said, “I really don’t know what Keith could have done differnetly. It wasn’t a hit to the back of the numbers. It is off on an angle here and we’ve heard it time and time again – a guy that makes the last minute decision to turn… This is not a hit from behind. It’s not. ”
“Duncan Keith didn’t go up, he didn’t charge at him. To me, that’s a two-minute penalty at the most.”
While NHL Department of Player Safety opted not to issue a suspension or fine, Keith’s wallet is already a little bit lighter. There is an automatic fine associated with a major penalty for boarding — one that will sock Keith to the tune of one hundred dollars.
When a major penalty is imposed under this rule, an automatic fine of one hundred dollars ($100) shall be imposed.
Doubtful that’ll have much impact to a guy raking in $4.5 million this year.
Keith was previously suspended for six games in 2016 for a dangerous stick-swinging incident against Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle. He also sat for one playoff game for high-sticking Jeff Carter, then with the Los Angeles Kings. Keith received a five-game ban for elbowing Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin back in 2012.