Blackhawks Survive Duncan Keith Suspension

Now that it’s over, we can look back at the five games Duncan Keith was suspended. How did the Blackhawks do without the NHL’s ice time leader?

Looking just at the Hawks’ record, they certainly survived being without Keith. With four of the five games against three playoff teams – Nashville (twice), New Jersey and St. Louis – the Hawks were 2-1-2  (six of 10 possible points) while missing Keith.

Digging a little deeper, though, there is a lot of good the Hawks can take away from the five games.

The Hawks were outscored 18-14 over the five games (not including the shootout winners). However, one very impressive stat is the number of shots the Blackhawks allowed on net without Keith.

In the five games, only the Preds (in Nashville) put more than 26 shots on net in regulation; the Blackhawks allowed an average of  24 shots on net in regulation. Including the overtimes, the Hawks allowed only 25.8 shots on net per game. Both of those numbers are well below the Hawks season average of 28.6 shots per game, which ranks ninth in the NHL.

But the biggest impact on the blue line in Chicago during Keith’s absence was a return of confidence from Nick Leddy. In the last five games, Leddy’s ice time has jumped to over 22 minutes in every game and he has responded. Leddy had five assists in the five games without Keith, registering a point in four of the five games.

The Blackhawks power play continued to struggle without Keith, scoring three times in 20 attempts; whether Keith is in the lineup or not, the Hawks are scoring on around 15 percent of their power plays this year.

Interestingly, the Hawks’ penalty kill suffered while without Keith. Certainly the Hawks aren’t having a good season killing penalties (rank 28th in the NHL at 78.2 percent), but they allowed five goals on 14 opponents’ power plays while missing Keith (64.3 percent).

Most importantly, the Blackhawks started Keith’s suspension in sixth place in the Western Conference and end it in… sixth place. Ultimately, the suspension may serve Keith some good, getting him some much-needed rest before the postseason.

His partner on the Hawks’ blue line, Brent Seabrook, might need Keith to pick up the slack when he returns. Here are Seabrook’s ice time totals in the five games without Keith:

  • vs NSH – 24:44
  • @ NJ – 29:50
  • vs STL – 27:40
  • @ NSH – 31:12
  • vs MIN – 29:54

Johnny Oduya also skated over 29 minutes twice, including over 31 minutes against St. Louis.

There are two games left in the regular season. Keith will return to the lineup in Minnesota, and captain Jonathan Toews has been cleared for contact. How good can these Blackhawks be when they have the full roster on the ice together? We’ll (hopefully) see soon.

11 thoughts on “Blackhawks Survive Duncan Keith Suspension

  • April 2, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    It should have been more than 5 games. It was a deliberate premeditated cheap shot where the primary target area was the head.

    Having said that I thought Daniel Sedin should have been penalized for the hit on Duncan Keith earlier in the game which inadvertently hit Keith’s head after glancing off his shoulder. The referees missed that earlier call, and let the game get out of hand.

    Five games suspension is simply not enough. There will be retribution to Hawks stars in the future…..may be next year in the regular season but not in the playoffs this year.

  • April 2, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Martin are you are moron? do you not recall what Torres did to Seabrook or what Hamhuis did to Bolland. Take off the rose colured glasses dude. The Canucks are among the dirtiest teams around. Do you not recall Bertuzzi on Steve Moore or are you one of those bandwagon fans that never watched hockey back then……seriously do some research before you speak. So you are ok with what Burrows did with his knee to the groin on Keith. I guess it’s ok because he didn’t get caught right?.

  • April 2, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Brody, what is it that draws you to this blog? I’m away for 5 days on a business trip and I come back to see you’re still weighing in here. Enough’s enough, Keith did his time; put it to bed, will you? Start worrying more about the cheap crap that comes from the Canuckelheads.

  • April 2, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    Nice to see Shanahan consistant with his suspension of Red Wings Quincey. Quincey was given game mis-conduct and launched himself at Kopecky head yet he only gets a game.

  • April 2, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    I just hope we get the captain back by playoff time

  • April 2, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    I’ve heard a lot of voices say that Keith should have been suspended for more than five games. That is basically true despite his lack of a dirty record. We also know that Raffi Torres left his skates and caused Brent Seabrook to miss 3 games (in the regular season, he would have assuredly missed more). The league is starting to do a much better job handing out sentences with Brendan Shanahan than Colin Campbell ever did.

    The league needs to go further and suspend players for more games. They can’t do the Torres punishment over again and they can’t do the Keith suspension over again. The league needs to stop acting based on the outcome of the hits and severely punish ANY player that aims for another players head. It shouldn’t matter whether a player has no ill effects or whether a player gets knocked out for the rest of his career. Send a message that these hits will not be allowed.

    With every hit, there better be an increasing amount of games sentenced and punishments should be more severe for repeat offenders. The league needs to be like the NFL where they watch film and send out bills to those that made illegal hits. Daniel Sedin should be missing money right now, the cowardly ginger bitch.

    With the injuries to Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews where both players were most likely injured by fair play, they can’t afford to let players get away with anything that they see – in game or after the game. The NHL has stepped up but their work is not done.

  • April 2, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    The only thing I’ll say on the beating-a-dead-horse-Keith-suspension-length comments is this:

    If the NHL is going to start setting a tougher standard for cheap shots, they need to do it with longer suspensions for repeat offenders. So when Matt Cooke or Daniel Carcillo or Raffi Torres makes a bad decision during a game, the first time is 2-5 gms, the second is 10 or 15. Throwing the book at first-time offenders can be too arbitrary to set an appropriate standard, but if a player continues to show a pattern of poor decision making and a lack of respect for the game, then drop the hammer.

    I give Matt Cooke a LOT of credit for cleaning up his act this year. His turnaround has been remarkable. But there are idiots all over the game that continue to take cheap shots without concern for an overwhelming amount of discipline. If a guy is looking at forfeiting six figures, he’ll think twice about leading with an elbow.

  • April 3, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Wow Tab, you finally said something positive about Nick Leddy. Are you o.k.? I guess it’s easy to have a 21 year old as a constant target. Coach Q has him in the top four for a reason. Coach Q has won 2 Stanley Cups as a coach. Likely, two more than you.

    Leddy may never get to Keith’s stature. But, look back at Keith’s stats at Leddy’s age. I am not sure Keith was in the league at 21. The kid is a player with big upside. He plays in one of the best hockey markets (Chicago) and has great mentors in Seabrook and Keith. One more year on his contract. Get use to seeing him. He will likely sign a big deal after that.

  • April 3, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Welcome to the site, Dan. Glad you’re here. I invite you to look back at the last two years to see that I might be the biggest fan of Nick Leddy in the city, and have been since he was acquired. Not sure which site you’ve been reading, but I’ve been nothing but complimentary of Leddy (to a fault sometimes).

  • April 3, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Dan, Tab has been Leddy’s biggest supporter…so I don’t understand the sentiment about Leddy…in fact all of us here, are Leddy fans and see him playing a very big role in Chicago each year past this one…

  • April 3, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    Yeah Dan Tab has been in Leddy’s corner. In fact there are a few other D men that have drawn the ire of Tab and others here, but not Leddy (*cough* O’Donnell *cough*). Can somebody tell me whether or not Montador will be ready for playoffs. Even if Dylan Olsen is in top 6 I would feel much better if Montador is the 7th D man in playoffs just in case.

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