Duncan Keith deserves a long suspension for swinging his stick at an opponent’s face

The Chicago Blackhawks, once perceived to be Stanley Cup favorites, are in something resembling a tailspin as the NHL season winds down. Whether it was the frustration of a poor stretch or an absence of mind, Duncan Keith pushed the Hawks deeper into the hole Tuesday.

Keith, the Norris Trophy-winning defenseman, swung his stick at Wild forward Charlie Coyle’s face Tuesday night, resulting in him being ejected from the game. He should sit out a lot more than two-plus periods for the transgression.

This is Keith’s second offense for one of the cardinal sins of hockey. Fight if you want, hook the knees to your heart’s desire, there are no circumstances where slashing an opponent’s face, on purpose, is acceptable.

Keith was busted for doing it to the Kings’ Jeff Carter in 2013, earning him a one-game playoff suspension.

His suspension for the swing on Coyle should be longer, not only in the regular season but in the playoffs as well.

The Blackhawks have five games left in the regular season. Keith shouldn’t play in those games.

The Blackhawks will then have a seven-game playoff series —€” Keith should miss the first few games of that too.

There’s no way that the NHL can turn a blind eye to this dangerous level of play, from a repeat offender, no less.

Surely, Keith will have some excuse for the action —€” not that it will be believable.

His teammates and coach have already run away from the topic.

It’s an event that’s unimpeachably reprehensible. Not even the most die-hard Blackhawks fan can justify Keith’s actions.

We’ll see if the NHL finds a way to screw this up.