CHICAGO - It was an optional morning skate for the Blackhawks today, but Duncan Keith was one of the first on the ice and one of the last to leave.
Even though he's in the midst of serving a six game suspension for swinging his stick at the Minnesota Wild's Charlie Coyle Tuesday, Keith can practice with the team and plans to until he can return to the lineup two games into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Keith addressed the media after practice for the first time since the NHL's Department of Player Safety handed down its ruling.
The veteran defenseman, who had been suspended twice before, said he didn't have an exact number in mind when it came to the length of his suspension and was appreciative of the open dialogue with the league during his hearing.
"A lot of the guys have played games and played a lot of hockey, so I respect their decision," noted Keith. "I play the game hard. At the end of day, I try to leave everything on the ice. It was a dangerous play and I was glad to see he came back."
Keith reached out to Coyle after the incident and left a voicemail apologizing for his role. Coyle reportedly called Keith back to acknowledge his apology - something Keith was very appreciative of as he tries to move on.