11:29 AM CDT, March 22, 2012
Duncan Keith is going to get suspended for drilling Daniel Sedin.
Oh, there is a slim chance that NHL Hanging Judge Brendan Shanahan will go easy on a first-time offender, but the more you see Keith deliver that elbow so perfectly and blatantly, there’s no chance that Shanahan doesn’t send the Blackhawks defenseman to a timeout.
Keith will deserve it, and he should be excoriated for it.
No discipline. No sense of game. No sense of season.
Sure, the Canucks are hated around the world, and even if they aren’t, they should be. I mean, they have a guy who pulls hair and bites and kneed Keith in the groin Wednesday night. Gutless crap. Indefensible crap.
But so what? It doesn’t matter. It can’t matter at this point in the season.
I don’t care if Sedin might’ve gotten away with a hit that banged Keith’s head against the glass earlier in the game --- the kind of hit for which the league is fining and suspending idiots. Again, it doesn’t matter.
Keith has to know better. He has to act bigger. He has to act smarter. He’s a Hawks leader. Leaders can’t lose it like that. The Hawks can’t afford to lose their top defenseman when they’re trying to clinch a playoff spot and suddenly challenging for home-ice advantage in the first round.
I love the way Keith has played lately, especially after almost two years of stinking it up so badly that the NHL began foreclosure proceedings on that Norris Trophy.
With the savvy addition of Johnny Oduya, the Hawks were able to pair Keith with Brent Seabrook again. Their best defensemen had a chance to play like their best defensemen. Their leaders on defense had a chance to play like leaders on defense. And they did, with aggressive play and remarkable restraint.
One of the biggest reasons for this recent Hawks run has been team-wide discipline. They had been giving up few power plays because they refused to retaliate. Foremost among them was Seabrook. When they found themselves a man down, the Hawks have allowed almost no power-play goals. They absorbed punishment and accepted power plays themselves. They were executing a winning playoff game plan, which became more important and more impressive without Jonathan Toews, their captain and best player.
And then Keith turned stupid. Then he became a Canuck. Then he sunk to Vancouver’s gutless, cheap-shot levels. He should know better. All the Hawks should.
Friends don’t let friends act like Canucks.
Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC