No matter who you are or what we're talking about, you probably haven't done anything as much as Duncan Keith has played hockey over the past six years. So on this holiday as we celebrate the hard-working Americans who have helped contribute to the well-being of our country, I thought we could give a nod to the hardest-working athlete in Chicago ... even though he's Canadian. Maybe we can find a way to adopt him.
Since solidifying himself as the top defender on a championship team in 2010, Keith has been the definition of a hockey workhorse. In those six years, nobody has spent more time on the ice than Keith, who's logged 14,343 minutes of ice time. That's the equivalent of roughly 10 days that Keith has spent battling the world's greatest hockey players over the past half-dozen years. When it comes to durability, Keith is the king.
This is something we've talked about a lot over the past few months, especially as Keith put on his superhuman, iron man performance in the 2015 postseason. That was an effort for the ages, and it earned the 32-year-old a well-deserved Conn Smythe Trophy. If Marvel slipped a Duncan Keith movie into its bloated slate for the next decade, you'd probably buy it. I mean, they made Ant-Man work. Keith's past few months were a masterclass deserving of at least a two-part epic. It wouldn't be any crazier than making three Thor movies.
Keith is truly ridiculous. He's an elite-level offensive defenseman who led the 2015 playoffs with 18 assists and is routinely among the top point-scoring players at his position. On top of that, he has a remarkable sense of positioning and timing. When you hear coaches talk about on-ice intangibles and always having the mind to make the right play, Keith is an embodiment of that. I imagine there are a few times every year where Joel Quenneville goes to sleep thanking his lucky stars he's been blessed to have such a reliably amazing defenseman.
This is the kind of play that deserves to go down in Chicago sports lore:
Keith made that save on the wrap around pic.twitter.com/FAULYLoSfQ— Stephanie (@myregularface) June 11, 2015
Just saving a huge goal in a Stanley Cup Final game after his goaltender's been beaten, no big deal.
And above all the skills that make Keith so difficult to gameplan for, he's always there. You know you're facing Keith if you're facing Chicago. Missed games are incredibly rare, and he'll do whatever Q asks of him on a given night. In the 2015 playoffs, he had single-game minute totals of 50, 46, 41 and 40. In 17 of the 23 games, he played at least 28 minutes. That's how you end up playing more than any other skater over the past six years:
Obviously Keith has had the good fortune of several huge playoff runs in that time frame. He also played a pivotal role in every one. It's probably fair to say the Blackhawks don't get to where they've been without Keith going above and beyond what most players can do. Surely other players could've played as many minutes, but you have to be great to earn the chance to play deep enough in the playoffs to get the opportunity. Keith has had that fortunate combination of special talent and being in the right place at the right time.
And hey, the Canadians celebrate Labor Day, too (just with a goofy spelling because Canada's goofy like that), so here's to everyone who's worked so hard to make both countries better, and here's to Duncan Keith for working so hard to make being a Blackhawks fan so much fun.
Now everyone go eat some hot dogs!!!!!