Could Duncan Keith’s suspension go into the playoffs?

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Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith was ejected from the game against the Wild for a high sticking in the first period.

CHICAGO – Last season he played through most of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a knee injury yet still was the most critical part of the team’s run to a third Stanley Cup in six seasons.

Hence Duncan Keith was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the playoffs Most Valuable Player.

A year later, the possibility exists that the Blackhawks’ defenseman might not even get the chance to start the postseason thanks to a play in the first period of his game last night in Minnesota.

The NHL Department of Player Safety has requested an in-person hearing for Keith after his high sticking penalty in a 4-1 loss to the Wild on Tuesday. After being hit to the ground Keith slashed his stick towards the face of Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle and drew blood, leading to an automatic ejection.

An in-person hearing request means that the suspension could be handed down of six-or-more games. If that happens he would be guaranteed to miss at least the first Stanley Cup Playoff game since the Blackhawks have five-games remaining in the regular season.