Suspension? Maybe — but that was an accident

Yeah, Duncan Keith probably earned himself a game suspension for his high-stick to the face of Jeff Carter. There’s no question it was a high stick. There’s no question he intentionally swung his stick in Carter’s direction. But. I think it’s pretty clear from the replay that they were picking at each other all the way up the ice, and Keith was intending a trivial but annoying slash in response to Carter’s trivial but annoying interference with Keith’s glove. And, as much as I hesitate to agree with anything a talking head says on TV, Brian Engblom (I think that’s who it was) is right. I believe it’s clear from Keith’s body language that his reaction was “ooh ****, sorry, I didn’t mean to do that.”

The rule is you have to keep control of your stick. (Thus, the penalty.) And the fact that Keith was attempting to do something that is illegal (a slash) but screwed up his aim and timing (oops, slash to the face) makes him more culpable that if he simply lost control of his stick. He wasn’t merely reckless. He was reckless in committing an intentionally illegal act (slashing).

No matter what, though, this strikes me as an utterly minor incident. The league may have to give him a game because — well, because it can’t condone reckless stick-swinging. But I can’t work up much animosity for Keith because of this.

 

 
  • VoluminousTuna

    I’m with you, Quisp. Carter had just come close to slashing Keith’s bare hand as he was picking up his glove, so it made sense that Keith would give him a slash in return.

  • Mike Edwards

    If nothing else, this may slow down Chicago. They have been free and easy in targeting the head in this series and have yet to pay for it. The on ice officials have let them run amuck. This should have been a match penalty from the get go. Granato was hit harshly when i buried Wilkensen (Blackhawk) 20 years ago. The only difference between that hit and this one is that Keith hit Carter a little lower. Same type of reaction.

    • Mike Edwards

      ^^^ he buried, not i buried LOL

    • http://web.me.com/kakitadoug/geekblog/Blog/Blog.html DougS

      Somehow, it makes me feel old to think of Tony Granato as having played 20 years ago.

  • JZarris

    I believe it’s clear from Keith’s body language that his reaction was “ooh ****, sorry, I didn’t mean to do that.”

    I think it was more of a “ooh ***, that’s not going to end well for me/us.”

    • http://web.me.com/kakitadoug/geekblog/Blog/Blog.html DougS

      No reason it couldn’t be both. :-)

      I’m thinking the NHL has to enforce some kind of supplemental discipline here; it’s just too obviously careless and stupid a thing for Keith to have done. But yeah, it’s clear that the context of this was him and Carts harassing each other halfway up the ice.

  • FT

    I’m not sure that matters. You are basically saying that his intention was benign, but (without actually knowing his intention), it certainly seems like it was to inflict harm upon Carter. And he did…therefore, not really an accident. Maybe the, “whoops, sorry I hurt you worse than I intended to hurt you” kind of accident.
    However, what I find truly baffling in all of this is the refusal of anyone to acknowledge that this is the type of player that Keith is (just ask one of the Sedins – or both, i forget as there was a blatant elbow to the head and also a two-handed slash to the back).
    Therefore, Keith is a repeat offender and as this act deserves a suspension on its own, it should warrant a longer suspension because he’s a repeat offender, not that i think he’ll get it.

  • m_and_m

    I agree with FT, I am utterly flabbergasted by those who say it was unintentional, and there was no intent to injure. He swung his stick at Carter’s head on purpose, what else could it be. Are you saying he was aiming for the knees and missed? If I shoot you and apologize to your widow afterwards, is she going to say, “Hey don’t worry about it, I can always find another husband?” Will the cops give you a pass because you were upset?

  • USHA#17

    There had to be a suspension. It was a deliberate and dangerous slash…from behind the play.