Tag: Duncan Keith

Patrick Sharp

A holdover from the ‘dark days,’ does Sharp have a future in Chicago?


TAMPA — The Blackhawks faced plenty of “dynasty” questions on Tuesday, roughly 24 hours prior to making their third Stanley Cup Final appearance in six seasons.

But for Patrick Sharp, the term isn’t in his lexicon.

“I don’t really use that word,” Sharp said during Stanley Cup Media Day. “I just know I’ve been on a good team for a long time. Going back 10 years, Duncs [Duncan Keith], Seabs [Brent Seabrook] and I got started in Chicago, and we’re kind of the last remaining ones from those dark days.”

Sharp, 33, has spent a decade in the Windy City, which predates the arrivals of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Chelsea Dagger and Cup Parades. He’s been around long enough to remember the ‘Hawks not making the playoffs — like when they won just 26 games in 2005-06 under since-forgotten coach Trent Yawney — and when the United Center was more mausoleum than madhouse.

Because of that history, Sharp is more equipped to speak about the Blackhawks’ renaissance than just about anyone. But it’s also sort of telling he’s being asked dynasties and memories now, as both he and his team face an offseason loaded with uncertainty.

Minutes prior to Sharp taking the podium on Tuesday, ‘Hawks GM Stan Bowman was at a different dais, fielding far different questions — ones about the salary cap, and the uncertain future facing his team.

“It’s a challenge,” Bowman explained. “The salary cap, that’s a system we all play under and we’ve been through it before. There’s changes to be made to every team and we’re no different.

“We certainly have expectations that we want to keep this going. The main players are going to be back..”

Which begs the question — is Sharp a main player?

Next year, Toews and Kane will have cap hits of $10 million each. Brandon Saad needs a new deal this summer, and Brent Seabrook the year following. Those financial obligations have led many to speculate that Sharp, who has two years left on his deal at $5.9M per, will be traded this summer as a cap-relief move — not unlike, as Bowman alluded to, the ‘Hawks previously being forced to deal away the likes of Andrew Ladd, Kris Versteeg and Dustin Byfuglien due to salary restraints.

More: On Patrick Sharp’s future in Chicago

Sharp knows this part of the game. He was on hand for the Ladd-Versteeg-Byfuglien purge five years ago and, when his name surfaced at last year’s trade deadline, he acknowledged “there’s going to be talk, discussions, rumors” about his future in Chicago. (Prior to this year’s deadline, he was linked in a move to Washington.)

As such, it was not surprising on Tuesday to hear Sharp speak about his entire career with the ‘Hawks — not just the recent championships, that have led to dynasty discussions.

“It became just such a fun ride to be a part of,” he explained. “I don’t look at the past six years and say we’ve been to three Cup Finals — I look at the whole ride in general, and consider myself very lucky to be a part of it.”

PHT arrives in Tampa, gets soaked (oh, and today is Media Day)


So Halford and I arrived in Tampa yesterday. Within hours of our arrival, we learned about Florida thunderstorms:


Lesson learned. Take taxis everywhere.

Anyway, today is Media Day. Both teams will be available for interviews in the concourse area of Amalie Arena.

Among the themes that will probably be pursued by the throng of reporters:

— How the Blackhawks would cement their dynasty status with a victory, making it three Stanley Cups in six years. A pretty tough thing to do in the salary-cap era.

— How the Blackhawks, whether they win or lose, will face a number of tough choices this offseason.

— Is Duncan Keith tired yet? No? …….. OK, how about now?

— How the Lightning have achieved so much with such a young roster. According to the NHL’s media website, Tampa Bay’s average age is 25.6 (compared to Chicago at 28.0).

— How the Lightning will have their own tough choices to make over the next few years. Steven Stamkos can become an unrestricted free agent next summer, Victor Hedman the summer after that. Can they sign those two and keep the “Triplets” too?

Toews, Johnson are Conn Smythe favorites, says oddsmaker

Jonathan Toews

Online bookmaker Bovada has released its odds for the 2015 Stanley Cup Final and it won’t come as much of a surprise that the Chicago Blackhawks are the favorites to win. They have been given 5/7 odds compared to Tampa Bay’s 6/5.

Tampa Bay is a terrific team with a lot offensive weapons, but Chicago has plenty of depth and experience. The gap isn’t big though and it wouldn’t be shocking if the Lightning did end up winning the championship.

They’ve also given odds for their top 16 Conn Smythe Trophy candidates:

Jonathan Toews (CHI) 7/2
Tyler Johnson (TB) 4/1
Patrick Kane (CHI) 9/2
Ben Bishop (TB) 5/1
Duncan Keith (CHI) 5/1
Steven Stamkos (TB) 8/1
Corey Crawford (CHI) 12/1
Nikita Kucherov (TB) 15/1
Marian Hossa (CHI) 25/1
Patrick Sharp (CHI) 25/1
Victor Hedman (TB) 35/1
Valtteri Filppula (TB) 40/1
Alex Killorn (TB) 40/1
Ondrej Palat (TB) 40/1
Brent Seabrook (CHI) 40/1
Brad Richards (CHI) 50/1

Johnson and Kane lead their teams in points with 21 and 20 respectively, but it makes sense for Toews to top the list. He’s Chicago’s leader and has stepped up in big games before. Toews’ two goals in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final was a critical part of why Chicago won that contest.

If Toews or Kane wins the award, it would be their second. Currently only five players in NHL history have been declared the playoff MVP at least twice (Patrick Roy, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, and Bernie Parent).

If Keith wins it, he’ll be the first defensemen to get the trophy since Scott Niedermayer in 2007. Keith might not be the favorite, but he certainly deserves consideration as he’s been averaging 31:35 minutes per game.

WATCH LIVE: Blackhawks at Ducks, Western Conference Final Game 7

Andrew Shaw, Frederik Andersen

Yesterday the Tampa Bay Lightning secured their spot in the Stanley Cup Final by earning a 2-0 victory over the New York Rangers. By the end of the night we’ll know who their adversary is. Between the Blackhawks and Ducks, Chicago has a clear edge in playoff experience and that might prove to be the difference tonight, but Anaheim has shown during the Western Conference Final that it’s more than capable of competing at this level.

If Chicago’s edge is experience though, then Anaheim’s advantage is the contest’s location. Historically the home team has a 94-66 record in Game 7s and has gone 3-1 this year, per the NHL’s Communications Department. The first goal is important too as 73.8% of Game 7s are won by the team that takes a 1-0 lead.

Tonight’s contest will air on NBC, starting at 8:00 p.m. ET. If you want to stream the game, you can do so via NBC Sports Live Extra by clicking on the link below:


There will also be pregame coverage on NBCSN beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET and you can go back there after the contest for the postgame. You can watch the Live Extra stream of that by using the link below (you will automatically be taken to the game stream once it starts):


In the meantime, here’s some pregame reading material:

Ducks juggle lines ahead of Game 7

The ‘freak’ Duncan Keith is having ‘a heck of a playoff’

The Ducks got Kesler for a game like Saturday’s

Chicago’s Sharp on Game 7 confidence (and Mario Kart)

Boudreau: Ducks were ‘nervous Nellies’ in last year’s Game 7 versus Kings

The ‘freak’ Duncan Keith is having ‘a heck of a playoff’


In case you weren’t aware, Duncan Keith is putting together another impressive post-season. It’s a combination of things, from the heavy minutes he logs, to incredible puck possession numbers, to the points.

It’s missing one thing: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final.

That has yet to be determined, and will be, one way or another, on Saturday in Game 7 between the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks.

Keith, 31, leads all NHL players in ice time this post-season, at 31:49 minutes per game. Sure, the Blackhawks have had several marathon overtime games, but Keith, described this spring as a “freak,” has never deteriorated, even with Chicago essentially leaning on four defensemen and playing their No. 5 and 6 blue liners sparingly.

His puck possession numbers are strong, at 56.4 per cent at even strength in the playoffs, according to war-on-ice.com. And he’s rolling along with 16 points in 16 games. His endurance has been something to marvel at, especially now, at this stage in the playoffs.

On Friday, Keith was asked about this ability.

Q: At what point when you were a kid did you know you had good aerobic endurance?

Keith: I don’t know. I just liked to play. When I was a kid we had a lot of outdoor rinks where I grew up. I didn’t really pay attention to my lung capacity. I was eight years old.

Yeah, I don’t really know what to say. I think I’ve always just enjoyed the game. It’s my passion, just like everybody else here in the NHL. I think over the years just working, working hard at it has helped develop certain things.

Head coach Joel Quenneville told reporters there have been seasons when they’ve tried to reduce Keith’s playing time by a few minutes, but they haven’t had the luxury of doing that in certain situations.

“And we find the more he gets, the more he keeps doing it,” said Quenneville. “He’s been great for us. He’s having a heck of a playoff as well.”