Blackhawks D Duncan Keith out 4-6 weeks after knee surgery
The Chicago Blackhawks are about to experience life without reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner Duncan Keith.
Keith is expected to miss four to six weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a meniscal tear in his right knee, the Blackhawks announced Tuesday. Team physician Dr. Michael Terry performed the procedure at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
A two-time Olympic gold medalist with Team Canada, Keith, 32, has never missed more than eight games in any of his previous 10 NHL seasons. The two-time Norris Trophy winner has notched two assists in six contests in 2015-16 and is averaging a team-high 24:21 of ice time.
I can't think of anything the #Blackhawks could afford less than losing Duncan Keith. A thin defense is going to be really tested now.
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) October 20, 2015
"Obviously, you look at a guy like Duncs, he can be arguably maybe the most valuable guy on the team with what he brings to the table," forward Patrick Kane said.
Keith scored the eventual winning goal to lead the Blackhawks to a 2-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final in June. The 32-year-old had three tallies and 18 assists to tie Chris Chelios for the most points (21) by a Blackhawks’ defenseman in a single postseason.
Keith’s absence leaves the Blackhawks’ blue line a bit barren, as fellow workhorse defensemen Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson will need to lean a bit more on Trevor Daley, David Rundblad and Kyle Cumiskey. Veteran Michal Rozsival is still recovering from an ankle injury.
"A lot of defensemen are going to get a lot more responsibility, quality enhanced in their ice time as well," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I don’t think we want to change our style of play, but at the same time we want to make sure that we’re tight."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.