Blackhawks

Duncan Keith is 'not even tired' as he plays 1,000th game

Duncan Keith is 'not even tired' as he plays 1,000th game

“Not even tired.”

That’s the text Duncan Keith sent to his buddy CM Punk after a triple overtime game during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Keith’s time on ice was north of 46 minutes.

Playing in 1,000 NHL regular season games is impressive, but it takes on a different meaning when you examine the actual minutes Keith has played.

Since the 2005-06 season nobody in the NHL has played more minutes in the regular season or the playoffs than Duncan. He has logged over 25,000 regular season minutes and nearly 3,600 minutes in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Former NHL players insist that playoff minutes are at least twice as taxing on the body as any regular season contest. Joel Quenneville believes that Keith has experienced more than his share of punishing ice time.

“The minutes that he's played in these games are high end," Quenneville said. "He had those playoff games in the series knowing that he could be targeted. It just seems like the as the season got deeper and more intense his ice time would increase and he'd handle it like nothing.”

Brent Seabrook welcomes his blue line brother to the 1K games club and knows that Keith battled through numerous injuries that were kept quiet.

“I don’t know if he gets enough recognition for how tough he actually is," Seabrook said. "He’s been through a lot of little things here and there, that a lot of people don’t know about and he continues to play through it. I think the 2015 series was really where you saw him take a stranglehold and put a stamp on it. Seeing what he went through before games and in between games at hotels, things like that and what he was able to do on the ice...he’s just an impressive player, someone I look up to.”

I asked Keith what his son, Colton, may learn someday from his dad’s hockey career. His response, “Everything starts with hard work. I know that’s a simple thing to say, but to me whatever you want to do in life... you have to want it and you have to be willing to do things that other people aren’t willing to do. A lot of that stems from out working and working harder than the person next to you. I think that will propel you through to whatever you want to become.”

25,190 regular season minutes, 3,552 playoff minutes and counting….“Not even tired.”

Behind the Numbers: Blackhawks third line driving possession against top competition

Behind the Numbers: Blackhawks third line driving possession against top competition

During the Blackhawks' training camp festival on Sept. 15, coach Jeremy Colliton discovered a combination he's grown to like in David Kampf, Dominik Kubalik and Brandon Saad. And it's the only trio that's stuck together through training camp and into the regular season.

On paper, it's not a sexy line. But they all bring different elements and it's translating to on-ice success.

When the three of them are on the ice together at even strength, the Blackhawks are controlling 59.7 percent of the shot attempts, 68.6 of the scoring chances and 76.9 percent of the high-danger chances, according to Natural Stat Trick. 

When they aren't on the ice at even strength? The Blackhawks are controlling 47.6 percent of the shot attempts, 46.2 percent of the scoring chances and 41.7 percent of the high-danger chances. 

Those are ridiculous numbers for a third line, and they're doing it against top competition, too.

On Saturday against Winnipeg, the Saad-Kampf-Kubalik line was tasked with going up against the Jets' Big Three of Patrik Laine, Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler and held them to three shots on goal for and three against in 14:06 of 5-on-5 ice time together. And on Monday against Edmonton, it kept one of the best lines in hockey in check, with Leon Draisaitl, Zack Kassian and Connor McDavid recording a minus-6 shot attempt differential in 15:25 of 5-on-5 ice time together.

The biggest mistake Colliton has made this season was separating the trio in the home opener after Kubalik scored a goal and recorded five shots on goal in the first period. He wanted to get the first line going and provide a spark by rewarding Kubalik, but the third line was dominant in the opening 20 minutes — it generated 10 scoring chances at 5-on-5 in only 4:30 together — and moving Kubalik away from Kampf and Saad really affected both lines in a negative way.

But don't expect Colliton to make that same mistake anytime soon. He learned his lesson and that's the last line he's going to touch if he's looking for a shakeup.

"They all just got real big motors, big engine," Colliton said. "They work and compete and they all bring a little bit different ingredient. Obviously like Saad is an accomplished, proven performer. He takes the puck to the net. He's a horse there. He's really hard to get the puck off, he transports it from D zone to the offensive zone, he can make those plays.

"I think Kampy is a workhorse. He takes a lot of responsibility defensively and can transport the puck from one end to another. Then you got Kubby, he's got a bomb. I've been very impressed with his play away from the puck. That's been a surprise for me. So now he can play on that line because he does so many responsible things. He wins a lot of races, he's a great forechecker. So, pleased with that line."

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Blackhawks honor Dave Bolland with “One More Shift” Friday

Blackhawks honor Dave Bolland with “One More Shift” Friday

Former Blackhawks forward Dave Bolland will be honored with “One More Shift” on the ice at United Center this Friday prior to Hawks matchup against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Bolland will stand with the team during the National Anthem and skate on ice in full gear. Along with time on ice, the United Center will also honor Bolland by showcasing his career highlights throughout the arena.

The Blackhawks will be celebrating the 10 year anniversary of their 2010 Stanley Cup win at five games this season, coinciding with “One More Shift” nights to honor individual players.  The United Center Atrium doors will open at 4pm, giving fans a chance to look at the interactive photo opportunities and historical items on display. Bolland will participate in a Q&A in the atrium at 6:30 p.m. before he hits the ice.

Dave Bolland was drafted by the Blackhawks in 2004 and spent ten seasons of his NHL career in Chicago. Bolland played with the team during two Stanley Cup championships, scoring the game-winning goal in the final minute of Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals against the Bruins. Bolland played in all 22 playoff games in 2010, garnering 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) which shared fifth among Blackhawks skaters in the postseason. Bolland recorded his best season of his career during the 2008-09 campaign with the Blackhawks, skating in a career-high 81 regular-season games and recording career highs in goals (19), assists (28) and points (47).

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