Duncan Keith Suspension: Blackhawks Defender Could Face Lengthy Ban For Hit On Daniel Sedin

Mar 21, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (2) checks Vancouver Canucks left wing Daniel Sedin (22) during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith knocked Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin out of Wednesday's game, and now he awaits a Friday hearing with the NHL about a potential suspension or fine.

When the Chicago Blackhawks and the Vancouver Canucks faced off on Wednesday night, Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith and Canucks forward Daniel Sedin traded high elbows near the head, and Keith's blow to Sedin knocked him out of the game and may have caused a concussion. The NHL's Department of Player Safety is reviewing the hit and will meet with Keith on Friday, but it is unclear whether his hearing will be over-the-phone or in-person.

As Tracy Myers of CSN Chicago explains, the form of the hearing could help determine the substance of the suspension:

Several Canadian outlets reported early Thursday that Keith would have a phone hearing with Shanahan around 1 p.m. CT on Friday to determine his punishment for that elbow. But late Thursday night, Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet Cable Television in Canada reported that the NHL asked Keith to waive his right to an in-person hearing for the hit.

If Keith's hearing is over the phone, it means he would be suspended five or fewer games. But if it's an in-person hearing, the punishment could be more than five games.

Then there's this tweet from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune, which may signal bad news for Keith and Blackhawks fans.

Keith has never been fined or suspended by the NHL, he received a minor elbowing penalty on the ice for the hit and claimed he wasn't trying to hurt Sedin in an interview after the game. It all comes down to how league official Brendan Shanahan judges the intent of the play and what weight he gives to the context of Sedin's elbow to Keith earlier in the game. Here is a video of the two hits from CSN Chicago to help you get a grasp on the situation:

For updates on the Chicago Blackhawks, visit SB Nation Chicago and also the Second City Hockey blog. For more on the Canucks, head over to Nucks Misconduct. For NHL news, analysis and opinion go the SB Nation NHL hub page.

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