Duncan Keith's holiday now over, back in Blackhawks line-up

Posted Apr 3, 2012 by Marcus Hondro
Duncan Keith's suspension is over and it has worked out nicely for the Chicago Blackhawks, and Keith. He got 5 games for running Vancouver Canuck Daniel Sedin and elbowing him hard to the head. Keith has completed what was arguably a welcome lay-off.
Daniel Sedin in a Digital Journal file photo.
Daniel Sedin in a Digital Journal file photo.
The suspension began on March 25 and though the Hawks are assured of their playoff spot, at first glance their 6-1 loss to Nashville that night may have been troubling. However, upon closer inspection Chicago may welcome a few losses as, while they fight for 4th and 5th place with Detroit and Nashville, the reality is that 6th place might be preferable.
Keith and Blackhawks: Playoff match-ups
A 6th place finish would put them up against the 3rd place team and because all division winners are guaranteed at least 3rd overall in each conference, it will leave the 6th place team starting out the playoffs against a team, either the Los Angeles Kings, Phoenix Coyotes or San Jose Sharks, with fewer points.
That Nashville game was the Hawks only regulation loss during the 5 games Keith was out and they finished 2-1-2 in his absence. What might be troubling to the team is the fact they gave up 20 goals during the stretch, an average of just under 4.00 per game when the overtime minutes played are factored in.
It might be troubling but likely isn't, after all they now have their warhorse on defence back, uninjured, well-rested and ready to go. Vancouver cannot say the same as Daniel Sedin remains out with no time frame on a return and no guarantee he won't have a recurrence of his concussion when he does get back.
Brendan Shanahan: 39 suspensions in 2011-12
League disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, in a customary video to explain his ruling, called the hit "dangerous and reckless" but took into account Keith was a first time offender. It was the 39th suspension Shanahan handed down this season however and he doesn't appear to have taken into account that, unless Keith has been living, and playing, under a rock, or perhaps a puck, he should have been aware that an intentional run at a player is no longer part of the NHL game.
Keith has a bit more holiday time left until playing in Chicago's next game, April 4 in Minnesota against the Wild.