The Chicago Blackhawks will be without defenseman Duncan Keith in Thursday's Game 4 of the NHL Western Conference Finals. The league office announced Keith will be suspended one game on Wednesday for his hit to the face of Los Angeles Kings center Jeff Carter in Game 3 on Tuesday.
Carter had 20 stitches to close the wound. The Kings won the game 3-1 to close Chicago's lead in the best-of-seven series to 2-1.
Keith told reporters after the hearing, "It's over with now. We've had a hearing. I've said my piece. I said the same thing last night. It was an accident. I didn't mean to get him where I got him. It is what it is, though."
Carter had initially struck Keith in the second period, and Keith skated after him and struck him in the face with his stick, sending Carter flying to the ice. He also reportedly suffered some cracked teeth in the incident.
"It was accidental," Keith said. "Obviously, I wanted to give him a tap, but not where I got him. I felt bad. I'm glad to see that he came back. It was just a scuffle. It was an accident."
Carter has six goals thus far in the playoffs, leading the team in that category with Justin Williams.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter called Keith's actions "retaliation" and said the suspension was not harsh enough.
"(I) thought it was a wrong call," Sutter said. "It's retaliation with a stick. It's not a high stick. Whatever they want to call it, they'll call it. Don't even need video."
Carter will likely play in Game 4, but also became the third member of the Kings to be injured in the playoffs. Center Jarret Stoll missed six games in the second round with concussion-like symptoms after being hit by the San Jose Sharks' Raffi Torres. Stoll rejoined the Kings for the start of the Finals. But one game into the finals, the Kings lost leading scorer Mike Richards after a hard hit late in Game 1. Richards has not played since then.