Blackhawks' Keith calls suspension 'fair'

Duncan KeithSportsJonathan ToewsChicago BlackhawksDaniel SedinNational Hockey LeagueNashville Predators

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith said he respects the NHL's decision to suspend him for five games for his elbow to the face of Vancouver Canucks winger Daniel Sedin during Wednesday's night's contest at the United Center.

League disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan handed down the suspension Friday afternoon, forcing Keith to miss the bulk of the Hawks' seven remaining regular-season games.

"I think Brendan does a good job at what he does," Keith said following Saturday's practice. "I respect it. I’ll serve five games and I’ll be back and I’m looking forward to getting back."

Keith didn't want to elaborate on the hearing process and specifically declined to comment on Sedin's high hit along the boards earlier in the game.

"I’m not going to sit here and question things or wonder how they came to the decision," Keith said. "I respect what they decided was fair and I’ll serve my time."

Keith, who leads the Hawks in ice time with 26 minutes, 53 seconds per game, said he plans to use the time to rest for the looming postseason.

"I’m going to use it as best I can to get as much rest and eat properly, get lots of sleep and be working out with (strength and conditioning coach) Paul Goodman," said Keith, who is allowed to practice with the team during the suspension. "Hopefully, I can try and use it to my advantage somehow."

Meanwhile, captain Jonathan Toews practiced with teammates Saturday, marking the fifth consecutive day of skating during his recovery from a concussion. It was Toews' first practice since suffering a setback last week that kept him off the ice.

"I feel like I'm getting back to that stage where I’m progressing and getting closer to feeling the right way," Toews said. "It was a while ago I felt pretty much the same way I do now. I'm just staying positive and hoping this is the time that hopefully we break through."

One-timer: Center Marcus Kruger (concussion symptoms) practiced but won't play Sunday night when the Hawks host the Nashville Predators.

ckuc@tribune.com

Twitter @ChrisKuc

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