Blackhawks' Duncan Keith 'excited' to be skating again


Blackhawks' Duncan Keith 'excited' to be skating again

Duncan Keith skated with his teammates on Sunday morning, looking pretty good for a guy who had right knee surgery about three weeks ago.

“Obviously I don’t think the leg is as strong as it needs to be,” said Keith. “But definitely feel pretty good for not skating.”

Keith is still about a week away from being eligible to return — since he’s on long-term injured reserve, he couldn’t play until the Blackhawks face St. Louis on Saturday. While there’s no guarantee he would be back that soon, there’s no doubt the Blackhawks defenseman is making great progress following surgery for a torn right meniscus.

“I was excited to get out there today with the guys. Excited the last couple of days to skate,” said Keith, who skated with Marian Hossa (lower body) the past few days. “One step at a time. It’s nice to be out there in the morning skate and pass the puck around with the team and try to get going.”

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Keith said he suffered his knee injury during the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup Final series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Coach Joel Quenneville said the Blackhawks didn’t know Keith was hurting that bad at the time, and Keith said he didn’t get it checked out during the playoffs. Despite the injury, Keith ended up hoisting his third Cup and was unanimously voted as the Conn Smythe Trophy winner. But Keith said the injury felt better over the summer, so he didn’t consider doing anything at that time.

“It was just one of those things where you take some time off and you don’t feel it much. I did different type of training where there wasn’t a lot of heavy pounding and things like that and then once you get skating it didn’t feel too bad,” Keith said. “There are a lot of nicks and bruises and pains during your hockey career or throughout a series or season and you don’t think about things too much. You just battle through things and something goes away and then starts to get worse you have to take a look at it.”

That look came this fall. Once Keith started skating again this fall, “I really noticed it and it was bothering me a lot.”

“It was a mutual decision to try and get it done rather than try to play through something like that all year,” Keith said. “And now I feel like I can be at my best.”

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Hossa said he’s not surprised that Keith is making a quick recovery.

"I skated with Duncs the last few days on the ice, and you know, he seems like he didn't have anything done to his ... you know, injury,” Hossa said. “He seems really strong and he's still got, like, definitely some time to go, but he seems really comfortable out there.”

Keith is making great progress. Yes, he could play vs. St. Louis, although that still seems a bit of a long shot — “fingers crossed that it could be that soon, but we’ll see when he gets in some contact with us this week,” Quenneville said. As anxious as Keith is to get back onto the ice, he’s nevertheless doing it with a surgically repaired knee. So he’ll take his time.

“We’ve talked to the trainers about that and they’ve been really good about trying to make sure I’m doing one step at a time and not skipping any steps,” Keith said. “I’ll try to stick with that program and just keep going one day at a time and working at it.”

Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center

Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center

After being on the receiving end of some racist taunts while he was in the penalty box during Saturday's game against the Blackhawks, Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly spoke publicly about the incident.

Smith-Pelly, a 25-year-old Canadian, reacted to the fans while he was in the box, going up to them from the other side of the glass. He addressed questions from the media about the incident on Sunday.

"I just heard some chanting, some, I guess, racially charged chanting," Smith-Pelly said. "You can tell by my reaction that I got pretty upset.

"What was said this time around crossed the line."

The Capitals released a statement about the incident:

"The Washington Capitals are extremely disappointed by the intolerant behavior extended toward Devante Smith-Pelly by a select group of fans during Saturday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. The Capitals organization strives to be inclusive and has zero tolerance concerning any form of racism. Such behavior is unacceptable and has no place in hockey or society. As such, it is crucial to confront such appalling conduct, and the Capitals extend their appreciation to the Blackhawks organization and United Center security for swiftly removing the fans from the game."

The Blackhawks released a statement after the game with a similar tone.

Smith-Pelly said this has happened previously in his career.

"It's sad that in 2018 we're still talking about the same thing over and over," Smith-Pelly said. "It's sad that athletes like myself 30, 40 years ago were standing in the same spot saying the same thing. You'd think there'd be some sort of change or progression, but we're still working towards it I guess and we're going to keep working towards it."

The Capitals released the full interview.

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals


Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.

Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.

Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:

After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:

Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident: