Friday, March 23, 2012
Keith, Hawks await decision by NHL
By Jesse Rogers
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks and defenseman Duncan Keith say they respect the process the NHL administers when it comes to potential supplemental discipline.
And now they’ll just wait and see what the department of player safety has to say after they conduct a conference call with Keith and his representatives about a high elbow he delivered to forward Daniel Sedin in a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday.
“We’re going to talk to [director of enforcement] Brendan [Shanahan] and see what happens,” Keith said after Hawks practice on Friday. “Let the NHL make a decision. I respect all the decisions they make.”
Keith had a scheduled 1 p.m. CT call with Shanahan regarding his elbow to the head of Sedin. He was assessed a two-minute minor penalty but the league deemed supplemental discipline may be in order for the blow which kept Sedin out of Thursday’s game in Dallas. He’s out indefinitely.
“I feel like I’m a pretty stand-up player out on the ice,” Keith said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Keith refused to discuss a high hit by Sedin on him a few minutes before Keith’s elbow knocked Daniel out of the game.
“I’m not going to get into everything about what’s happened,” he said.
Coach Joel Quenneville is also respectful of the job the league does when it comes to these situations.
“It was a tough hit,” Quenneville said. “I’m respectful for the process. We all know the parameters. We’ll see what happens.”
While backing their teammate, other Hawks said they were sorry to see Sedin get hurt.
“It’s unfortunate Daniel got hurt,” Patrick Sharp said. “I don’t think that was Duncan’s intention, but we’ll see what happens with the league. It’s something we’re going to have to rally behind.”
The story took a twist late Thursday night when the league asked for an in-person hearing with Keith, opening the door for a longer suspension. Conference call hearings can only result in a suspension of five games or less, according to league rules. A request for an in-person hearing means the suspension can be longer.
Keith and Quenneville said they were “unsure” of the process, but a source familiar with the situation said Keith’s camp didn’t understand the change of heart by the league. Earlier in the day on Thursday, Keith was told the hearing would be by phone, meaning a suspension of no more than five games.
It’s very unusual and almost unheard of for the league to change its stance after scheduling a phone hearing. Keith has waived his right for the in-person hearing and conducted it by phone anyway. His suspension can last longer than five games.
The league is expected to rule by the end of the day on Friday, but isn’t required to until the Hawks next game which is Sunday against the Nashville Predators.