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Duncan Keith to have hearing Friday with Brendan Shanahan

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (L) winger Patrick Sharp (10) are still standing after an altercatiwith Canucks players second period

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (L) and winger Patrick Sharp (10) are still standing after an altercation with Canucks players in the second period of the Hawks 2-1 overtime win over the Vancouver Canucks March 21, 2012 at the United Center. | TOM CRUZE~Sun-Times

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Updated: April 24, 2012 8:21AM



When asked about a possible suspension for elbowing Canucks forward Daniel Sedin in the head, Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith basically declined to comment.

“I’m out there playing my game,” Keith said after the Hawks’ 2-1 overtime victory Wednesday. “I’m not trying to hurt anybody. It’s a fast game. I haven’t seen the replay, so I can’t really comment on it.”

But he should have more to say soon. With the Hawks off until Sunday and Sedin’s status still uncertain, there wasn’t a disciplinary hearing for Keith on Thursday, but he’s scheduled to have one Friday. The Hawks didn’t practice Thursday.

Similar elbows have resulted in suspensions. Keith was expected to have a phone hearing, which dictates his suspension can’t be more than five games. But Canada’s Sportsnet reported late Thursday that the NHL might have decided to request an in-person hearing with Keith ­instead, meaning a longer suspension is possible.

There are a lot of things NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan will consider when it comes to punishing Keith, starting with Sedin’s status. Sedin missed the Canucks’ game Thursday in Dallas, reportedly flying back to Vancouver to see a specialist because of a possible concussion.

Shanahan also will take into account that Keith hasn’t been suspended before. But the most contentious aspect he’ll consider will be if Keith acted in retaliation and targeted Sedin after an earlier hit.

Henrik Sedin insinuated that Keith said he was going after his brother Daniel after taking a shoulder-to-head hit from him earlier in the first period. Keith received a two-minute minor for his elbow, but Daniel Sedin was not penalized for his hit.

It might be tough to determine if Keith voiced a threat — especially considering the rivalry is rife with trash talk — but Shanahan definitely will ask Keith about it. Keith said Wednesday that he didn’t think Daniel Sedin hit him high first, but it clearly happened.

The Hawks undoubtedly will miss their top defenseman if he’s suspended. Keith’s play with Brent Seabrook recently has been a big reason for the Hawks’ 13-4-1 run. The 2010 Norris Trophy winner quietly has put together a solid 40-point season.

The Hawks have veteran Sean O’Donnell available, but they still will have a glaring hole on their blue line without Keith when they’re already missing center Jonathan Toews (concussion).

Henrik Sedin said he was surprised by Keith’s elbow.

“There have been things said from their room before, but not from him,” Sedin said. “He’s always been good, but I don’t know if it was too [many] emotions playing against us or what it was. Again, it’s too bad. I had a lot of respect for him.”



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