Blackhawks' Duncan Keith suspended 6 games; will miss 1 playoff game

Chicago will have be without its top defenseman for a brief time in the first round.

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith has been suspended for six games for high-sticking Minnesota Wild forward Charlie Coyle during Tuesday's game, the NHL's Department of Player Safety announced Friday.

The length of the suspension means Keith will miss rest of the regular season and Game 1 of the first round in the playoffs.

Keith was offered an in-person hearing Wednesday, but he waived that right in order to have a phone hearing Wednesday afternoon.

The incident occurred at 9 minutes, 27 seconds of the first period. Keith swung his stick with his right hand and connected with the face of Coyle, who left the game with a cut across the bridge of his nose. Coyle received medical treatment then returned before missing a shift.

Keith, 32, has nine goals and 34 assists this season.

It will be the third suspension Keith will serve and his second one-game suspension during the playoffs. He served a one-game suspension during the 2013 Western Conference Final for a high-sticking infraction against the Los Angeles' Kings Jeff Carter in Game 3. The Hawks went on to win Game 4 of the series with a 3-2 victory.

He also served five games during the regular season in 2012 for elbowing Vancouver Canucks' forward Daniel Sedin.

It also won't be the first time the Hawks will have to play without the two-time Norris Trophy winner this season. The Hawks went 5-4-1 during a 10-game stretch without Keith from Oct. 20 to Nov. 12 after he had knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. One of those losses was a 3-1 defeat at Winnipeg.

Blackhawks' remaining schedule

Winnipeg Friday Winnipeg
Boston Sunday Chicago
Arizona April 5 Chicago
St. Louis April 7 Chicago
Columbus April 9 Columbus