Tuesday's roundup: Keith out for Chicago after knee surgery

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Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith

Chicago — Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith will be out 4-6 weeks after he had right knee surgery Tuesday.

Keith, a two-time Norris Trophy winner who played at Michigan State, has two assists in six games this season.

Team officials said he had a meniscal tear repaired.

The loss of Keith, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy last season as playoff MVP, is a huge blow to the Stanley Cup champions. They play in one of the NHL’s toughest divisions, and every point could make a difference at the end of the season.

Keith is likely headed for long-term injured reserve, giving the Blackhawks some cap relief. Lubomir Visnovsky, a veteran defenseman who was with the team during training camp, could be brought back, or they could promote someone from the minors.

Ice chips

The Penguins were without talented rookie Daniel Sprong on Tuesday night against the Panthers because of a work visa issue.

Sprong, 18, is of Dutch descent, and moved to Canada with his family to pursue his hockey career in 2005.

“Daniel is in Canada getting an extension on his visa,” coach Mike Johnston said. “He had an appointment (Monday) morning, the appointment got delayed.

“So once the process is completed, he’s going to be back here right away. That’s the status.”

Johnston said after morning skate there is no chance Sprong would be back in time for the team’s game against the Panthers. He has been skating on the team’s third line with center Nick Bonino.

Sprong’s absence is notable because he has made a very compelling case to stick with the team beyond a nine-game tryout. He scored his first goal against Ottawa last week.

Sprong has nine NHL games in which to play before being sent back to his junior team, or his entry level contact will kick in.

... The Coyotes recalled forward Matthias Plachta from Springfield of the AHL and placed center JoeVitale(upper body) on injured reserve.