Friday, 1 April 2016

Duncan Keith should get a minimum 40 games suspension for his latest outrage.

I’m seeing too many apologies and excuses for Duncan Keith. Since his axe swing at Charlie Coyle, the networks have been showing two previous incidents, when he elbowed Daniel Sedin in the head and knocked him out for essentially the rest of that season and all of the next, and when he harpooned Jeff Carter in the face.

The narrative is building towards ‘an excellent player who’s had a couple lapses of judgment, and now this one’. Which is false. He’s had more than that.

I remember watching live when he took a gigantic, completely gratuitous slash at Daniel Sedin’s back, while Daniel was strides ahead of him and about to score on a breakaway. There was no strategic reason for it, no upside, it wasn’t that kind of harrying little slashes on the player to try to put him off his game, but also while not drawing a ref’s whistle. It instead was a completely cynical hack, at the player he’d assaulted before, and probably felt misplaced resentment for, for having caused him to get suspended.

Watching Duncan Keith play, at the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, for example, is to see a player fully displaying his skill and intelligence, he makes you marvel at how smart and aware and in charge he is. He’s a true quarterback, a general with the puck.

He’s also a miserable son of a betch, an unprincipled basturd who loses his head. He has impulse control issues, anger management issues. He’s just a big jerk, and that’s an understatement.

When a female reporter asked him a direct question about that hack at Daniel Sedin, he demeaned her as a person and a reporter, ridiculed her knowledge of the game. Instead of answering her question, he lost his cool, got all mean and snarky. And refused to admit it or apologize afterwards.

So seeing talking heads trying to tease apart dirty plays and dirty players, it’s just more colincampbelling to me, the constant minimizing and deflecting of the issues.

Duncan Keith is a dirty player who does this kind of stuff all the time, rarely gets called for it, and the book should be thrown at him. I cringe at the whole “Well, maybe five games, and another one or two games, they’re playoff games, after all, …” This was a clear, voluntary strike in the face of the opponent, with a stick, with intent, with motive. The discussion should start at a minimum twenty or thirty games, that should be the floor to start any discussions. Duncan Keith is no better than Matt Cooke or Raffi Torres, other serial offenders and threats to health and safety.

Except that Duncan Keith is better at that whole hockey thing. He’s an integral part of a Stanley Cup repeat champion, and contender again this year. The refrain is that punishing Keith would be punishing all his other teammates, and the Chicago fans. So we should go lightly.

And to me, that’s the whole point. There should be consequences to his actions. If he lets his teammates down and a whole city full of fans down, and feels this small, that’s kind of the point. He never learns. Maybe he should this time.

And maybe teams would think twice when signing these guys to these contracts, there should be a significant risk to hiring dirty players who are a menace to everyone else. The penalty shouldn’t be borne only by the player through suspension, the team that enables him, fails to discipline him, they should bear some of the blame, get splattered too.

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