NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan handed to Duncan Keith what amounts to a brief holiday for his attack on Daniel Sedin. The much awaited suspension number turns out to be five games and Keith will be back before the Stanley Cup playoffs begin.
Perfect for the Blackhawks, likely not enough for the Canucks.
On Friday Shanahan, in his customary video to explain his ruling, said the hit was "dangerous and reckless." He took into account the fact Keith is a first-time offender, a mitigating factor when the NHL hands out suspensions. He said nothing to suggest he took into account the fact Keith has been aware suspensions were being handed out like candy this season and that headshots were no longer being tolerated. Keith surely knows of the plight of Sidney Crosby.
Condition of Daniel Sedin unknown
How badly Sedin was injured is not fully known, though late Friday the Canucks confirmed he did have a concussion. He was elbowed hard to the head by Keith and needed help getting up, leaving the ice with the aid of a trainer. On the ensuing power-play - Keith was given two minutes - Sedin tried a shift but quickly came off. He left that game, returned to Vancouver and missed a game in Dallas. Sedin will not play in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche Saturday.
The Canucks have not responded to Shanahan's announcement. While many NHL writers seem surprised it was not more, some, notably from Chicago, are not. TSN's Darren Dreger defended the suspension, saying it was "about right."
NHL Standings and Blackhawks
Chicago is in 6th place in the Western Conference, 7 points up on the eight and final playoff spot; they do not appear in danger of missing the playoffs. Keith will return to play in Minnesota on April 5 and then finish out the regular season two nights later in Detroit. He will miss two games against Nashville and one against St. Louis, New Jersey and Minnesota.
Keith will forfeit almost $150,000 in salary; the money goes to the Player's Emergency fund.