Every once in a while, there comes a player that makes you ask, “…How?”
Duncan Keith is one of those players.
The Chicago Blackhawks defenceman is as close to flawless as it gets when it comes to lockdown blueliners, and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman credits much of it to Keith’s otherworldly endurance.
LISTEN: Elliotte Friedman on Game 7 pressure, Blackhawks’ cap, and Duncan Keith
“He’s like a mutant. There’s no other way to say it,” Friedman told Dean Blundell & Co. Friday morning. “He’s got an incredible ability to play at that level. Some people are just blessed with incredible endurance — and he’s one of them.”
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“Some guys have the gift of being able to do extra and it doesn’t tire them out, and [Keith’s] got that gift,” said Friedman, who also credits Keith’s dedication to practice. “Guys who play with him are absolutely amazed by his ability to do that and to rest quickly and be able to get back to a high level much faster than his teammates can. He’s gifted and he’s talented and he works at it.”
One of those players is former teammate Ryan Stanton. Friedman recalled a conversation with Stanton, who now plays for the Vancouver Canucks.
“I asked him about Keith, and he goes, ‘the incredible thing about the guy is he never seems to be tired. He will play a lot and guys will be out there with him and they’ll come to the bench and they’re breathing heavily and he’s not.'”
Keith’s two goals in these playoffs have both been game-winners, one of which helped the Blackhawks put away the Nashville Predators in the first round. Three of his 14 assists this spring came in Wednesday’s Game 6 survival win to force Game 7 versus the Ducks.
He also makes game-saving goal-line stops from time to time:
His 16 points in 16 games so far, combined with his ability to significantly change the pace of a game, gives him the inside track for the Conn Smythe Trophy this year, said Friedman.
“He’s one of those guys who could play well enough in the Final if Chicago gets there,” said Friedman. “They could lose, and he might still win it as long as it’s a good series.”