On Friday afternoon, Brendan Shanahan and the Shanavengers handed Duncan Keith a five-game Shana-ban for his concussion-causing elbow to the head of Daniel Sedin. A day later, the Chicago Blackhawks fielded questions about the suspension following their Saturday afternoon practice.
Captain Jonathan Toews, who has missed two weeks with a concussion but was skating for the fifth straight day, weighed in on the suspension.
"You've seen the history between these two teams, how things are going both ways in that game. Again, you don't go into a situation like that intentionally trying to hurt the guy, knowing concussions and head injuries have become a big problem. But the reality is, those things happen when you're playing with an edge. Guys aren't going to say they're trying to hurt someone but when you're trying to hit someone really hard, especially against a team you have a history with like Vancouver, you're not going to let up. Unfortunately Duncs may have gone a little overboard there. It's a tough suspension, we all feel for him, but it is what it is and it happens."
Toews' perspective is an interesting one.
Undoubtedly, the rivalry between the Vancouver Canucks and the Chicago Blackhawks is heated enough that when you hit one of those guys, you want it to hurt, even if you don't want them to get hurt. But Toews has also been on the receiving end of two concussion-inducing collisions in three years (one on the ice, the other in a car), so he's certainly sympathetic to Daniel Sedin.
(The Canucks have yet to announce that Daniel has a concussion, but Henrik, who's a pretty reliable source on Sedin-related matters, confirmed it Friday.)
One assumes Toews wouldn't wish a concussion on his own worst enemy, which is, ironically, the guy that now has one. "Duncs may have gone a little overboard" sounds like a diplomatic way to admit he agrees with the suspension.
As for Keith, who will spend the next five Chicago games having a me party, he wasn't quite willing to admit he agreed either. However, he wisely and diplomatically said he respected the decision. From the South Bend Tribune:
"I think Brendan does a good job at what he does," Keith said following Saturday's practice. "I respect it. I'll serve five games and I'll be back and I'm looking forward to getting back."
Keith didn't want to elaborate on the hearing process and specifically declined to comment on Sedin's high hit along the boards earlier in the game.
"I'm not going to sit here and question things or wonder how they came to the decision," Keith said. "I respect what they decided was fair and I'll serve my time."
For what it's worth, according to RDS reporter Renaud Lavoie, the league looked at Sedin's hit on Keith and concluded that it was clean.