- Scott Powers, ESPN Staff Writer
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LOS ANGELES -- Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith received a one-game suspension for high sticking the Los Angeles Kings' Jeff Carter during Game 3 of the Western Conference finals, the NHL's department of player safety announced Wednesday.
Keith swung his stick upward and connected with Carter's face while the two were skating behind the play Tuesday. Carter fell to the ice and later required 20 stitches. He also chipped a tooth.
The high stick occurred after Carter took a short hack at Keith's hand while the defenseman bent down to pick up his glove.
"This is more serious than a case of a player simply having to be responsible for his stick," NHL vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan explained in a video on NHL.com. "It is not an accidental high stick nor is it a defensive high stick to an opponent. This is a retaliatory high stick to an opponent that causes an injury."
Keith, who was penalized with a four-minute double minor, said after the game that it was an accident. The injury forced Carter, who wears a visor, to miss the Kings' ensuing four-minute power play, which went nowhere.
"Although Keith asserts he did not intend to hit Carter in the face or hit him with such force, he does admit to intentionally swinging his stick at Carter as Carter is skating away from him," Shanahan said. "It also should be noted even if Carter did chop down on top of Keith's hand, that still does not justify the extent of Keith's actions."
"In summary, this is high sticking, Keith is a repeat offender, Carter suffered an injury on the play," Shanahan said.
Keith was unaware of what the result of his hearing would be when he met with the media after practice at Staples Center on Wednesday.
"I'm not getting into it," he said. "It's over with now. We've had a hearing. I've said my piece. I said the same thing last night. It was an accident. I didn't mean to get him where I got him. It is what it is, though."
The Kings won 3-1 to cut the Hawks' series lead to 2-1. Game 4 is Thursday.
Defenseman Sheldon Brookbank is likely to replace Keith in the Blackhawks' lineup for Game 4. Brookbank appeared in 26 regular-season games but has been a healthy scratch throughout the playoffs.