I knew it would happen one day, and that day came a couple of days ago. One of my favorite players got traded to the Edmonton Oilers. It stings and unfortunately, this has happened to me before.
I know it’s hard to see your favorite player leave the team, especially when you’re a young kid. I was a young kid in the ’90s, and watching Eddie Belfour get traded was one of the toughest things for me as a Blackhawks fan.
I was lucky enough to go to a bunch of home games because my dad had season tickets. It was one of my favorite memories as a kid watching “The Eagle” with my dad. To all the young kids out there that idolized Duncan Keith, I feel your pain. He’s also one of my favorite players in this new age. I’m going to miss him a lot, and I hope the best for his remaining years in Edmonton. There’s no doubt in my mind that number two will be raised in the rafters as soon as he calls it quits. There will be a Duncan Keith night, and I hope to be in attendance when it happens.
After high school, my playing days were done. I went to a lot of home games and remember one game sitting behind this older gentleman that was raving about Keith. He said, “He (Keith) is the best skater I’ve ever seen in my life! You watch, he’s going to be an amazing defenseman for many years to come!” If I could find this guy now, I’d buy him a beer and tell him he was right.
I think Keith elevated his game when The Hawks signed Brian Campbell. Campbell was brought in to be a puck moving defenseman and create offense. He was a huge part of the 2010 team, but I think Duncan Keith took the role that they wanted Campbell to have. Keith won the Norris Trophy, a gold medal, and the Stanley Cup that year. Sure, Brian Campbell had a big contract, but I think the play of Keith kind of forced Campbell out. Why pay two guys big bucks to do the same thing when you’re up against the cap?
There’s been a lot of great memories. One of my favorites was when he blocked that shot in the offensive zone when the Sharks were trying to clear the puck in the 2010 western final. He lost several teeth, only missed a couple of minutes, and came back to finish the game. I believe that moment alone made him a Chicago legend. My other favorite moment with Keith was when he scored the game-winning goal against Tampa in 2015.
I know he went through a tough year with his personal life, but after he scored that goal you could really tell he let out a lot of emotion, and it was a big deal for him. He’s played in a ton of big playoff games, played huge minutes, and is going to bring a ton of experience for the young Edmonton Oilers.
I know the last couple of seasons for the Blackhawks have been rough but Keith still managed to play his heart off. I hope he gets to see his kid more and enjoy his life after retirement. He will be forever missed. The first time the Hawks meet the Oilers in the 2021-2022 season, it’s going to be very emotional for a lot of fans including myself. I hope to be in attendance to honor his service with this team.
On our last podcast we talked about Duncs and his impact on The Hawks. Click below to listen!