(The Sports Xchange) - Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith will be forced to miss the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the defending NHL champions after receiving a six-game suspension on Friday.
The NHL Department of Player Safety announced that Keith will sit out the final five regular-season games and the post-season opener for swinging a stick at Minnesota Wild forward Charlie Coyle in a contest between the teams on Tuesday.
Keith received a five-minute major and match penalty for intent to injure during the game when he hit Coyle with a high stick in the face. Coyle required stitches to close a cut on his nose but later returned to the ice.
The 32-year-old Keith waived his right to a personal hearing with the league in New York and a phone interview was conducted on Friday afternoon.
Keith will not be paid during his suspension, which amounts to a loss of roughly $148,883 in earnings for a player who is not considered a repeat offender but has been disciplined before.
He drew a one-game suspension in the 2013 Western Conference finals for a high stick against Los Angeles Kings forward Jeff Carter and was forced to sit out five games in 2012 for elbowing Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin.
In 67 games this season, Keith has 43 points and averages 25 minutes of ice time. He was sidelined for 10 games earlier in the campaign with a lower-body injury.
The Blackhawks, who have already secured a playoff berth, beat the Winnipeg Jets 5-4 after overtime on Friday to remain in third place in the Central Division.
(Writing by Benjamin Everill; Editing by John O'Brien)