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Chicago Blackhawks News
Chicago Blackhawks: Duncan Keith Suspended 5 Games for Hit on Sedin
Tuesday, 27 March 2012 23:34    PDF Print E-mail

Duncan Keith has been suspended five games by the NHL for his elbow to the head of Daniel Sedin. This according to a tweet by Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune.

#Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith suspended five games for hit on Canucks' Daniel Sedin.

This ruling came after Keith met with Brendan Shanahan at 1 p.m. CT.

Shanahan said that Keith's hit was "dangerous, reckless and caused injury." He also mentioned retaliation when discussing the hit, which means that the NHL took into account Sedin's hit on Keith prior. But Shanahan also took into account that Keith has never been suspended in his seven-year career in the NHL.

ESPN's Jesse Rogers tweeted that Keith tried to explain to Shanahan that the hit was meant to impede Sedin's progress.

Keith told Shanahan he was trying to "impede" Sedin's progress and the hit was not of retaliatory...Shanahan called it dangerous and reckless.

Keith will start serving his suspension when the Blackhawks take on the Nashville Predators on Sunday.

This means that Keith would be eligible to come back on April 7 against the Minnesota Wild.

The ruling is expected to be controversial for both Blackhawks and Canucks fans, but nonetheless, Keith will be back in time for the playoffs.

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Duncan Keith Suspension: Is the Chicago Blackhawk's Suspension Unfair?
Tuesday, 27 March 2012 23:34    PDF Print E-mail

On Friday, the NHL Player Safety Committee has decided to suspend Duncan Keith for five of the seven remaining games of the regular season, according to ESPN. Personally, I think the suspension was unfair. I think Keith got away with too little. If it were another time in the year, his leave would've been longer.

I don't think Keith is a dirty player. Actually, he's one of the top defensemen in our league, and was very deserving of the Norris Trophy he won two seasons ago. He has no previous history with the disciplinary committee and has always played a clean brand of hockey.

I just think his hit on Daniel Sedin was outside the lines. Daniel Sedin had no right to deliver the hit he did before, but his hit was way less vicious than Keith's was. Either way, retribution like this is deserving of suspension, and should be dealt harshly by Shanahan and his cohorts. 

He targeted the head with no intention of playing the puck and ended up disabling his opponent from remaining in the game, as is said here. This incident was very akin to the hit that got Andy Sutton suspended for eight games early in the season. 

I make Marc Crawford's words mine. This is a hit that very detrimental to the game. I know, it's playoff hockey, but this is simply unacceptable. The stars, whether repeat offenders or not, need to know that they aren't immune to the rules. I also defend a suspension, that would be deemed unnecessary due to the injury that Daniel Sedin suffered on the play.

The NHL wants to create an environment where players are safe to exercise their craft to the best of their ability and, the marquee players are a big part of that environment. The league did well in giving Shane Doan a three-game hook for his elbow on Jamie Benn, and the Phoenix Coyotes are way worse than the Chicago Blackhawks on the standings despite being in seventh.

I'm sure Duncan Keith is a very good person, a respectable man and and a good role model to kids that are learning how to play hockey right now. But he needs to suffer the consequences as harsh as other players have (i.e. Andy Sutton) for similar actions no matter what time of the year it is.

The justice system doesn't give a lighter penalty on assault just because it's March. The league should have followed the same suit.

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Chicago Blackhawks: Jonathan Toews Back Practicing After Battle with Concussion
Tuesday, 27 March 2012 23:34    PDF Print E-mail

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is back at practice as he continues to recover from a concussion that has taken him out of the lineup for about a month, and is hopeful of returning to the team before the conclusion of the regular season.

Toews is trying to stay strong physically and mentally during his recovery, and hopes that he won't have to wait much longer to get back into action. Saturday was also Toews' fifth straight day of skating.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Toews said the following about his recovery via CSN Chicago:

“I was confident a week in that it wouldn’t take much longer. It sucks that it’s taken this long but I feel this is it,” said Toews. “Mentally I’m positive and telling myself that we’ll get through this. I’m not going to let the setbacks that have happened weigh me down.”

It's great to hear that Toews is back at practice. The NHL playoffs would be far less exciting without him. He's one of the five best players in the league and is a force at both ends of the ice.

The Blackhawks are a legitimate Stanley Cup contender with him, but without their captain, they are a team that would be lucky to win a playoff series.

Toews doesn't need to play a ton of games before the playoffs to get back into the flow of normal contact and shake off the rust. I think two to four games would be a solid warmup for Toews before the postseason begins on April 11.

The Blackhawks are currently in sixth place in the Western Conference standings and are three points behind the Detroit Red Wings for the fourth and final spot guaranteeing home-ice advantage in the first round. 

While home ice in the first round would be a huge help to Chicago, who have the most regulation losses of any team currently in a playoff spot, getting as healthy as possible is certainly priority No. 1. 

With Toews back at practice and being able to skate for several consecutive days, the Blackhawks are now hopeful that their captain will be able to help them on the ice soon.

Having Toews back in the lineup on a regular basis won't just make the Blackhawks better, it would make the NHL playoffs more enjoyable.

 

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Chicago Blackhawks: Stretch Without Duncan Keith Another Trying Task
Tuesday, 27 March 2012 23:34    PDF Print E-mail

The Chicago Blackhawks have overcome injuries on defense—as well as the injury to captain Jonathan Toews—in the past six weeks to climb within spitting distance of home ice in the NHL playoffs. Now comes yet another absence to deal with, courtesy of Brenden Shanahan.

The NHL's Director of Player Safety and Hockey Operations announced yesterday that Duncan Keith has been suspended for five games as a result of an elbow to the head of Vancouver's Daniel Sedin. I'm sure everyone has an opinion on the length of the suspension, and they'll all come out over the course of the weekend.

In the afterglow of the firestorm of debate, I believe this much to be clear:

1. Keith was punished for an ill-timed and illegal hit.

2. The Hawks have some big skates to fill.

Chicago has proven that they can step up and win without Toews. Playing without Keith may be a different matter altogether.

The Hawks lost two of the three games Keith missed with a hand injury back in November. Toews is seen as a barometer for the team's success, but the same could be said of Keith. When the former Norris Trophy winner has been good, the defense has played well. When he hasn't, goals tend to go into Chicago's net in bunches.

Compounding the situation is the fact that the defense continues to be hampered by injury. Steve Montador is just now returning to skating and probably isn't an option at this point. Sami Lepisto appears no closer to a return after filling in pretty well when needed.

This leaves the Blackhawks with Brent Seabrook, Nick Leddy, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Johnny Oduya, Dylan Olsen and Sean O'Donnell to hold down the fort. Hjalmarsson has recently recovered from his concussion. Olsen has a handful of NHL games under his belt and O'Donnell is 40 years old and facing five games in eight days.

Oduya could pair with Seabrook for a solid temporary pairing, though, I think it leaves the bottom two units a bit suspect. Hjalmarsson moving up to team with Seabrook might provide more depth to the defense, as Oduya has played well with Leddy. This leaves old lion (O'Donnell) and young cub (Olsen) to play substantial third-pairing minutes.

A healthy Montador or Lepisto would have come in handy right now. As it is, the only possible help would be to call up Ryan Stanton from Rockford to provide some more flexibility. Stanton is capable of being responsible defensively and adding a physical element.

Starting Sunday, the Hawks have two games with Nashville as well as a trip to New Jersey and home dates with St. Louis and Minnesota. The guy who has played up to 30 minutes a night isn't there to limit the minutes of the bottom-pairing skaters.

The blue line has played well recently. However, to keep pace in the standings, the call now comes out once again for the defense to step up.

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Chicago Blackhawks Free-Agent Rumors: 8 Blackhawks Who Won't Be Back Next Season
Tuesday, 27 March 2012 23:34    PDF Print E-mail

Just who will go and who will stay? That's the question that will be on the minds of many Blackhawks' players when the final game of the postseason is played.

Depth players are switched out every year with new ones coming in expecting to become permanent members of the new roster.

The Blackhawks have witnessed this more so than any other NHL team after winning a Stanley Cup. This year will be no exception as the Blackhawks will look to upgrade an already championship caliber roster.

These are the top eight Blackhawks that won't be back next season.

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