Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
Duncan Keith is not a headline grabber. We do not read of this nightly exploits on any news-feeds, nor are any episodes of SportsCenter featuring his brilliant play. To put it simply, Duncan Keith is the best defenseman in the NHL and nobody seems to know or care.
Blackhawks fans know it. Much of the Western Conference knows it. So why do we not heard Keith spoken about in hockey discussions? I can recall years of listening to broadcasters rave over Chris Pronger, a talented defenseman who managed to spend the second half of his career in the emergency room. On a team with talented players and inspiring leaders, Keith offers similar tangible and intangible qualities that the captain Jonathan Toews is praised for on a weekly basis, yet Keith just continues to do his job better than all of his peers with minimal recognition.
And I am not just talking about this season. Keith tallied 69 points in the 2009-2010 season and had a similar pace in last year’s lockout shortened season. These are just his offensive exploits as Keith has been the most consistent defensive presence for the ‘Hawks since 2009, and has rallied a penalty kill that tends to get better when the games matter more. Speaking of special teams, over the last few seasons Keith has played a major role on one of the best power plays in the league and has been among the NHL’s best table-setters in odd man scenarios.
That brings us to this season. DK (maybe it will catch on) currently leads all defenseman in several key offensive categories. He sits right behind behind-the-net wizard Joe Thornton in assists and still Keith’s name is not mentioned in the same sentence as any of the league’s premier players.
One would think that two Stanley Cup titles would grab some of the “analysts” attention and lead to some love on behalf of DK, but not quite yet. So my question is, when does Keith start to get the proper recognition for his career? Midway through this season we have seen the best of Duncan Keith on a nightly basis and as Blackhawks fans, we are spoiled. I just hope in due time that Keith’s name is mentioned among the league’s most prominent players, and I wouldn’t be complaining if it took just one more Stanley Cup to get his name on the front page of ESPN.com.