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.”