Blackhawks' Duncan Keith suspended for Game 4 vs. Kings

Harry How

Duncan Keith's claims that he didn't mean to hit Jeff Carter in the face with his stick fell on deaf ears, as he was suspended for Game 4 for his reckless high-sticking penalty.

Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith will miss Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals, despite his pleas that his high stick that caused Jeff Carter to receive 20 stitches wasn't intended to hit him in the face.

As always, the suspension was explained by NHL Director of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan.

Shanahan notes the retaliatory nature of the high sticking penalty, Keith's history of incidents, and the obvious injury to Carter as the three main reasons why the decision to suspend Keith were made. Keith received a four-minute double minor during the game, and immediately apologized after the game. Although he admitted to swiping up to hit Carter's forearm after the two had scuffled, he said he hadn't been attempting to smack Carter's face. Regardless of intent, the play was deemed reckless enough for punishment.

A Blackhawks' alternate captain, Keith's pairing with Brent Seabrook is one of the best defensive units in the league and was a key part of the team's 2010 Stanley Cup title. He's +5 thus far in the postseason, with one goal and nine assists in just 15 games. Joel Quenneville will likely bump up either Nick Leddy or Michal Rozsival from the second defensive pairing. Leddy is left-handed like Keith, which might make him the more obvious counterpart to Seabrook.

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