THE NHL has offered Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith an in-person hearing for high-sticking Wild forward Charlie Coyle.
The offer means the league can suspend Keith more than five games, but it doesn’t have to. Keith has the option of travelling to New York or waiving his right to the hearing.
Chicago has five regular-season games remaining.
After being knocked onto his back during the first period of Chicago’s 4-1 loss Tuesday at Minnesota, Keith lifted his stick into Coyle’s face.
WATCH THE BRUTAL VIDEO IN THE PLAYER ABOVE
He was given a 10-minute match penalty, an immediate ejection that left the Blackhawks without their top two defensemen. Brent Seabrook missed the game because of an illness.
Coyle needed stitches to close a cut on his nose, which wasn’t broken. He said he was “stunned” by what happened.
“Keep your stick on the ice, right? So, obviously, there is no room for that, and I’m sure he wants to take it back,” Coyle said after practice Wednesday, sporting a black eye.
“But it was a heat-of-the-moment thing. That’s how it happened.”
Keith has been suspended twice before: five games in 2012 for an elbow to the head of Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin and one playoff game in 2013 for high-sticking Los Angeles Kings forward Jeff Carter.
“We’ve done it before. Obviously we know what Duncs means to us,” Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said after Tuesday’s game.
“Whatever happens we’ll make the best of any situation. That’s the only way to look at it.”