(Warren Wimmer/Icon SMI)

As I’m sure you all know by now, Duncan Keith has been suspended for 5 games by the NHL (Brendan Shanahan) for his blatant elbow on Vancouver Canucks forward and all around creep Daniel Sedin.

Keith made the argument to Shanahan that he was trying to impede Sedin from making progress in the neutral zone. No sale. This was always going to be a tough sell for Keith even had Thing 1 not been injured.The replay clearly shows Keith getting his elbow up and if you believe the Thing 2 (Henrik), Keith made clear his intention to even the score after a highly questionable (and probably suspendable) hit he took from Thing 1. In the future, Keith would do well to keep his mouth shut about such actions. He made up his mind to take a shot at Sedin and there was no reason he had to advertise it to the world – they would have found out eventually, right?

But all of that is in the past now and nothing can change it. The real issue now is what happens on the ‘Hawks blue line. Keith will miss gams against the Predators (2), Devils, Blues and Wild. The ‘Hawks showed they were able to win without their Captain, but the task is far more daunting without Keith. The Blackhawks will now be forced to rely on Dylan Olsen more than they probably want to and Johnny Oduya is in for a some 27 or 28 minute nights. If there is anything positive to take away from the situation, it’s that Keith will get the rest that Joel Quenneville simply refuses to afford him. Keith will refuel and will get a tune-up in the final two regular season games against Minnesota and Detroit. He will enter the playoffs fresh and hopefully very angry.

The defensive pairings today at practice consisted of Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson, Nick Leddy and Johnny Oduya and Olsen with the nearly forgotten Sean O’Donnell. Anyone else think OD wasn’t too upset by the lengty suspension?

The team did get some good news today: Steve Montador has been cleared for contact. There hasn’t yet been a date set for his return, but he’s moving in the right direction. Were he to return soon, it would probably mean Old Donald would once agian be watching from the pressbox and Monty would likely find himself babysittng Dylan Olsen. In any case, a healty Montador would be a very good thing for the Blackhawks in the playoffs. You can never have too many options back there.

As one gets better, one gets worse: News broke today that Marcus Kruger will miss Sunday’s game against Nashville with concussion symptoms. This probably means that Brendan Morrison will be in the lineup on Sunday. If Kruger misses significant time it could mean  the Blackhawks ice a team with Morrison in the lineup during the plaoffs – something nobody wants to see.

Corey Crawford will get the start in goal on Sunday.