Blackhawks' Duncan Keith suspended one game for high stick to face of Kings' Jeff Carter (with NHL video)

 

 
 
 
 
Referee Eric Furlatt calls a high sticking penalty on Duncan Keith (left) of the Chicago Blackhawks as Jeff Carter of the Los Angeles Kings lays on the ice in the second period of Game 3 of the NHL Western Conference Final at Staples Center on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 in Los Angeles.
 

Referee Eric Furlatt calls a high sticking penalty on Duncan Keith (left) of the Chicago Blackhawks as Jeff Carter of the Los Angeles Kings lays on the ice in the second period of Game 3 of the NHL Western Conference Final at Staples Center on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 in Los Angeles.

Photograph by: Harry How, Getty Images

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LOS ANGELES — The toll on Jeff Carter’s mouth was not terribly out of the ordinary, by high stick standards: one chipped tooth, a couple cracked, and 21 stitches.

He’d already lost his bridgework during a practice in Chicago, so Duncan Keith wasn’t to blame for that.

But the National Hockey League decided the act — Keith’s reckless, retaliatory one-handed hack to the face of the Los Angeles Kings forward in the second period of L.A.‘s 3-1 win Tuesday night — warranted a one-game suspension, meaning the Chicago Blackhawks will have to play Game 4 Thursday night without their No. 1 defenceman.

On the play, Keith and Carter had exchanged slashes near the Chicago goal and Keith lost a glove as the play moved up ice. Carter swatted at his bare hand, and Keith reached around him with his stick as Carter skated away, pulling the blade into Carter’s mouth.

“This is more serious than a case of a player simply having to be responsible for his stick. It is not an accidental high stick, nor is it a defensive high stick to an opponent. This is a retaliatory high stick to an opponent that causes an injury,” NHL director of player safety Brendan Shanahan said in his explanatory video.

Keith was given a five-game suspension a year ago for a vicious elbow to the head of the Vancouver Canucks’ Daniel Sedin late last season. He does have a reputation for losing his temper, and he was a repeat offender.

The former Norris Trophy winner and key member of Canada’s gold medal-winning 2010 Olympic team said the high stick was an accident, but Shanahan evidently wasn’t buying it.

“Although Keith asserts that he didn’t intent to hit Carter in the face or with such force, he does admit to intentionally swinging his stick at Carter as Carter is skating away,” Shanahan said. “Also noted, if Carter did indeed chop down on Keith’s hand, that does not justify the extent of Keith’s actions.”

The Kings downplayed the incident Wednesday.

“It's over with. There's bigger things to worry about right now. We're

in a fight here, down two games to one. I don't think that's on our minds,” said Carter.

But it will be a considerable loss to the Hawks, who play Keith nearly 25 minutes a game.

“Dunks is important in all areas,” said Quennevlle. “Special teams, big minutes, how we defend, how we get activated on the back end, his leadership, his compete level. He's everything you want in a defenceman.”

Everything except cool-headed.

ccole@vancouversun.com

Twitter.com/rcamcole

 
 
 
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Referee Eric Furlatt calls a high sticking penalty on Duncan Keith (left) of the Chicago Blackhawks as Jeff Carter of the Los Angeles Kings lays on the ice in the second period of Game 3 of the NHL Western Conference Final at Staples Center on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 in Los Angeles.
 

Referee Eric Furlatt calls a high sticking penalty on Duncan Keith (left) of the Chicago Blackhawks as Jeff Carter of the Los Angeles Kings lays on the ice in the second period of Game 3 of the NHL Western Conference Final at Staples Center on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 in Los Angeles.

Photograph by: Harry How, Getty Images

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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