There are a couple things that jump out at me here. The first is the assertion that the premeditated or retaliatory aspect of this wasn't really weighed all that much in the decision. So if we remove that, then really this is not that much worse than Shane Doan's elbow on Jamie Benn. It appears this decision was based off the fact that Sedin will miss time, and Benn did not. So I guess what we're judging here is accuracy of your elbow? Both were wrong and malicious, and deserved suspensions. But how does one get three and the other five?
What will also rile Hawks fans, somewhat rightly, is there hasn't been a peep about looking at Sedin's hit on Keith that very well may have started this mess. It was the exact type of blow to the head that the league claims they're trying to get rid of. Was it suspension worthy? Maybe. It should at least be a fine. But perhaps the NHL doesn't want to be seen piling on to a player who's sitting in a dark room somewhere. I don't know, but it warrants a couple questions.
At the end, we can bitch all we want about the Canucks once again crying foul or what appears to be inconsistent justice. But the real conclusion to be drawn from this is that Duncan Keith let his team down. There's no way around that. At this time of year, your most important defenseman and alternate captain simply cannot put himself in this type of jeopardy. It is arguable that Keith is the Hawks most important player. While they've found a way to succeed without Toews, we've seen earlier this year and all of last year that when Keith is not playing well, not even absent, the Hawks are bad. When he's good, generally the Hawks play well. He's pretty much the bellwether for this team, and now he's taken himself out of the equation for five vital games with what was without doubt a stupid and selfish act. Whether the punishment was excessive by 10, 20, or 30 percent, that's what you should be most upset about.
It's a good thing the Hawks did get this hot streak going, and with the cushion they have on a playoff spot and the 7th seed, otherwise this week would just be awful to go through. Asking a team to keep this up now without its best forward and best d-man has to be bordering on a bridge too far, if not on it.
What will the Hawks do? If I had to guess, Oduya will be moved up with Seabrook as his steady play is better suited to dealing with teams' top threats more than Nick Leddy's ritalin-infested game. The other option is to leave the second pair alone and play Hjalmarsson with Seabrook, which they have before. Defensively that would be sound enough, but would not get the transition and push the Hawks require from their top pairing.
Hold on tight, the ride's about to get very bumpy.