Because Keith’s hearing was offered in-person, his potential suspension could exceed the five regular-season games remaining in Chicago’s schedule.
Keith’s availability for Game 1 of the defending champions opening-round playoff series is now in jeopardy.
“We’ve missed guys all season long, so I’m not worrying about hypotheticals,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville told reporters.
The two-time Norris Trophy champ and reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner was handed a match penalty for the stick-swinging incident, which occurred midway through the first period of Chicago’s 4-1 loss to Minnesota Tuesday night. Watch the play:
Keith is not officially considered a repeat offender by the league because he has a clean slate over the last 18 months, but the No. 1 defenceman does have a history of egregious offences.
More relevant to the Coyle play is what Keith did in 2013. During Game 3 of the Western Conference final against the Los Angeles Kings, Keith was suspended one game for this retaliatory high stick to the face of Jeff Carter.
Chicago has clinched a post-season berth but is still battling for home-ice advantage in Round 1. The Blackhawks are currently without their No. 1 goaltender, Corey Crawford, who is dealing with an upper-body injury.