Blackhawks News

The Duncan Keith Effect

By Sean Fitzgerald

Jun 24, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman

Duncan Keith

(2) watches as goalie

Corey Crawford

(50) covers the puck during the first period in game six of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Michael Ivins-USA TODAY Sports

With the Blackhawks training camp already started, the big word around the team is repeating.  Several players are crucial to repeating for the Blackhawks.  A major player in the Blackhawks title defense is Duncan Keith.

In order for the Blackhawks to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions, Duncan Keith must overcome several obstacles.

1. The hangover: After the 2010-2011 season, critics of the Blackhawks say they were not in shape for the season. The short offseason, grueling next season, and partying too much took its toll on the Blackhawks specifically Duncan Keith.  Hopefully Keith and the other Blackhawks learned from their previous mistakes. Can Keith fight off the hangover curse?

2. Level of Play:  In 2010-2011, Keith won the Norris Trophy. Since that season people say Keith’s play had suffered until last season. Keith returned to form as one of the best defenseman in the NHL.  Keith paired with Brent Seabrook make the best defensive pair in the NHL. Those two defenseman in front of Corey Crawford make the Blackhawks defense respected around the NHL. With the short offseason and the Olympic break, can Keith maintain his high level of play?

3. Minutes: Duncan Keith has played 26 minutes a game from 2009-10 to 2011-2012. Last season, Keith averaged 24 minutes a game in the regular season.  In the playoffs, Keith played respectively 26 minutes in 2010-11, 30 minutes in 2011-2012, and in 2012-2013 27 minutes in 22 games. These are a lot of minutes even for Keith. Coach Quennville stays that Keith is a workhorse and thrives on a lot of minutes. Eventually, these minutes have to take the toll on Keith. Will it be this season?

4. Injury: Duncan Keith has been extremely lucky. Knock on wood, Keith has been healthy despite the high amount of minutes.  If the Blackhawks want to repeat, Coach Quenneville has to keep Keith fresh and healthy for the entire season.

5. Luck: The Blackhawks as a whole were lucky last season. Each player also had some lucky moments of their own. Keith’s game 5 goal against Jonathan Quick in the first period was lucky in my mind. If Keith and the Blackhawks want to repeat they will need more lucky moments this coming season.

If the Blackhawks want to repeat, they will Keith to be at his very best next season. With all these factors working against him, can Keith do it?