Late Friday afternoon, Brendan Shanahan, the VP for Player Safety for the NHL made a decision that infuriated people from Chicago and Vancouver, but for different reasons.
On Wednesday, in a game between Chicago and Vancouver, defensemen and alternative captain, Duncan Keith elbowed last season’s top scorer, Daniel Sedin. Sedin took only one shift after the hit, and has since been sent home to Vancouver to consult with a specialist due to a concussion.
There is no doubt that Duncan Keith deserved a suspension for the vicious elbow to Sedin’s head, but what caused the controversy between the two cities is the amount of games he received
It was announced Friday that Keith would be suspended for five games, forfeiting close to $200,000.
A lot of Blackhawks fans are baffled at the amount of games, especially because there are only seven regular season games left before the playoffs start. But people from Vancouver our outraged that his suspension was so small.
This whole incident is very strange. It involved two star players for their respected teams and there is a question of consistency of Brendan Shanahan and retaliation.
On Twitter and Vancouver Canucks blogs, some fans wanted more than a ten game suspension and wanted Keith out of the first round of the playoffs, which could equal up to 17 games. They wanted the book thrown at Keith, making an example out of his for hurting their star player.
The are two important things to note here: 1) Duncan Keith has never been suspended in his seven NHL seasons, and is not a “repeat” offender, 2) Vancouver and Chicago, fans and players alike, do not like each other one bit.
Most Chicago fans said that Keith deserved a suspension but only about three games. He has never been suspended before, which is taken into account in the hearings and just a few days before, Shane Doan was suspended for the same play.
Doan, a Phoenix Coyote, was suspended three games for an elbow to Dallas’ Jamie Benn. Benn was uninjured on the play, but Doan was suspended before in his career and was fined for a boarding hit just a week earlier.
So why does Shane Doan, a labeled repeat offender get three games and Duncan Keith, with a clean record, get five?
Some think its due to the lack of injury. Some say because Dallas and Phoenix are not big market teams with big stars like Chicago and Vancouver.
It will never be fully understood by either side, but what happened, happened. One thing is for sure, Vancouver will have to play without their star until he is healed, and the Blackhawks will be without Duncan Keith for the next five games.
It is a lose-lose for both teams and cities.
Fans can only wonder what will transpire between these two teams if they meet in the 2012 play offs.