Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith won’t appeal his suspension and apologized to Minnesota Wild forward Charlie Coyle for hitting him in the face with his stick on March 25.

Blackhawks’ Duncan Keith Won’t AppeAl Suspension

Keith’s suspension includes the last five games of the regular season and the first playoff game. He missed Friday’s 5-4 road win against the Winnipeg Jets. Keith stated that he “accepted” the NHL’s decision and would not appeal it, and also said he called Coyle to apologize for the infraction and for causing a gash on his face. After being pushed to the ice by Coyle, from his back Keith swung his stick with one hand, catching Coyle right across the face.

“It was obviously a reaction and one that I need to be disciplined [for],” Keith said before the Blackhawks played the Bruins on Sunday afternoon, according to the Chicago Tribune. “We talked about that as a team and things like that. Obviously there’s a limit and I [have] to know that. I will.”

This is not the first incident of an infraction Keith has committed and that caused him to lose his temper. Keith was suspended for a game during the Western Conference finals in 2013 for high-sticking the Los Angeles Kings’ Jeff Carter, and in 2012 he was suspended five games for elbowing the Vancouver Canucks’ Daniel Sedin.


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Keith has stated that he will work towards preventing similar incidents in the future.

“I’m going to have to,” Keith said. “It’s just knowing that line, and I feel I’m a competitive person but I don’t think that’s something that I can’t stop. I think I can stop that. Move on and move forward and when I come back be as good as I can be.”

Keith called Coyle to apologize, but his call went to voicemail. After leaving a message, Coyle called Keith back to discuss the incident.

“I was appreciative of that,” Keith said. “It says a lot about the player and type of guy he is. That’s about it. They’ve got a good team and they’re playing well. I wished him the best after.

“It’s a dangerous play and I was glad to see he came back and it wasn’t worse,” he then added.

Keith, the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner, says he is confident his team can win their first playoff game without him.

In a video announcing the suspension, the NHL department of player safety called Keith’s action “an intentional and retaliatory act of violence by a player with a history of using his stick as a weapon.”

Keith will also forfeit $148,883.35 under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, based on his average annual salary.The Blackhawks, the defending Stanley Cup champions, have clinched a playoff berth and are third in the Central Division, at 45-26-7 with four games left to play. The Blackhawks defeated the Bruins at home 6-4 on Sunday, and will next host the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night.

CHICAGO, IL – FEBRUARY 28: Duncan Keith #2 of the Chicago Blackhawks looks to pass against the Washington Capitals at the United Center on February 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Capitals 3-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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