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Duncan Keith offered in-person hearing with NHL

The NHL has offered Blackhawks defenceman Duncan Keith an in-person hearing for high-sticking Wild forward Charlie Coyle on Tuesday night. The offer Wednesday means the league can suspend Keith more than five games, but it doesn't have to.

Blackhawks D-man lifted stick into Coyle's face

Blackhawks defenceman Duncan Keith has been offered an in-person hearing for high-sticking Minnesota forward Charlie Coyle during a game Tuesday night. The offer means the NHL can suspend Keith more than five games, but it doesn't have to. Keith has the option of travelling to New York or waiving his right to the hearing. (Nam Y. Huh/Canadian Press)

The NHL has offered Blackhawks defenceman Duncan Keith an in-person hearing for high-sticking Wild forward Charlie Coyle.

The offer Wednesday means the league can suspend Keith more than five games, but it doesn't have to. Keith has the option of travelling to New York or waiving his right to the hearing.

Chicago has five regular-season games remaining.

After being knocked onto his back during the first period of Chicago's game Tuesday at Minnesota, Keith lifted his stick into Coyle's face. The Winnipeg native was given a 10-minute match penalty, an immediate ejection that left the Blackhawks without their top two defencemen. Brent Seabrook missed the game because of an illness.

Coyle needed stitches to close a cut on his nose, which wasn't broken. He said he was "stunned" by what happened.

"Keep your stick on the ice, right? So, obviously, there is no room for that, and I'm sure he wants to take it back," Coyle said after practice Wednesday, sporting a black eye. "But it was a heat-of-the-moment thing. That's how it happened."

Keith has been suspended twice before: five games in 2012 for an elbow to the head of Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin and one playoff game in 2013 for high-sticking Los Angeles Kings forward Jeff Carter.

"We've done it before. Obviously we know what Duncs means to us," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said after Tuesday's game. "Whatever happens we'll make the best of any situation. That's the only way to look at it."

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