Heat of the moment, as he lay on the cold ice, is the only possible defense Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith will be able to offer. Unless he chooses to plead temporary insanity, it’s hard to see how the NHL can do anything but throw the book at Keith. He flagrantly smashed Charlie Coyle in the face with his stick. See video below. Another intention for the dangerous stick action just isn’t plausible.
Coyle looks like he truly can’t believe it. He stares as if he just encountered a monster: one of those rogue characters you don’t bother trying to administer justice to — no matter how much you’re bleeding — because you understand those guys don’t understand the rules. They act outside convention. They’re dangerous and you have to let the larger forces of justice, like the league, mete it out. Defending yourself against the Duncan Keiths of the world is a losing battle. The NHL will have to do everything it can to take up for its better actors, and defend against acts like this as though people’s lifes depend on it. Because they do.