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NHL: Wild’s Coyle ‘stunned’ by stick to face from Blackhawks' Keith

By Chad Graff St. Paul Pioneer Press ST. PAUL -- Charlie Coyle said he was "stunned" when Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith swung his stick into Coyle's face during the Wild's 4-1 victory Tuesday night. The play, which resulted in Keith's ejecti...

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(Marilyn Indahl | USA TODAY Sports) Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle, right, chases the puck to the corner during the second period against the Colorado Avalanche March 1 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

By Chad Graff

St. Paul Pioneer Press

ST. PAUL - Charlie Coyle said he was “stunned” when Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith swung his stick into Coyle’s face during the Wild’s 4-1 victory Tuesday night.

The play, which resulted in Keith’s ejection Tuesday and a looming suspension, left Coyle with a black eye and stitches on his nose. He said Wednesday that his nose, which took the brunt of the stick, wasn’t broken.

“It sure looks like it though,” Coyle said with a laugh.

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On Wednesday, the league announced it had offered Keith an in-person meeting to discuss his supplementary discipline. The NHL is only allowed to suspend a player more than five games if it offers an in-person hearing, so the invitation means a hefty suspension for Keith could be coming.

The Blackhawks have five games remaining, so if Keith is suspended more than five games, he would miss time in the playoffs.

The play happened midway through the first period after Coyle leveled Keith. From his back, Keith swung his stick across his body and hit Coyle in the face.

“No matter what happens in a game, you shouldn’t swing your stick at someone’s face like that,” Coyle said. “That goes from when you’re a mite. Keep your stick on the ice, right? So, obviously, there is no room for that. And I’m sure he wants to take it back. But it was a heat-of-the-moment thing. That’s how it happened.’’

Coyle was left bloodied on the play.

“I was just stunned that it happened,” he said. “You don’t expect that ever in a game.”

Wild interim coach John Torchetti declined comment on the hit, saying, “We’ll let the league decide that.”

Related Topics: HOCKEY
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