Duncan Keith’s six game suspension is another serious miss by Player Safety.
This incident on its own is terrible enough to draw more than 6 games. I’ve heard the defence that it’s “just a high stick”. But that’s what it is in name only. They need some category to write down. What it actually was, and what it was actually called by the on ice official who assessed the initial match penalty, is “intent to injure”.
As I said already on this blog the very night of the incident, there is NO POSSIBLE WAY Duncan Keith could have predicted or controlled the outcome of hitting Coyle with his stick. The consequences of his actions could have been literally anything, including death.
This act endangered another player significantly more than most other suspendable offences. It was also the furthest thing from a hockey play when compared to the other suspensions as well.
Like I said, this incident on its own deserved more than 6 games. The fact that he’s intentionally and uncontrollably hit a player in the face with his stick before (Jeff Carter, 2013) adds another dimension.
What I would have done is suspend him for the rest of the regular season and the first two playoff rounds. Player Safety was probably hesitant to suspend too far into the playoffs because it has a fairly consistent unwritten rule that one playoff game is the same as two regular season games. By that logic, a two round suspension would potentially be the equivalent of 5 regular season games plus 14×2 for 33 games.
That does sound like a lot, but I just don’t think one round is enough for this kind of violent crime.
The mentality of someone who not only considers this act, but actually follows through with it, needs serious adjustment. 6 games won’t adjust anything.