“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.”