CHICAGO -- If Chicago’s Duncan Keith was winded after playing nearly 50 minutes in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals, he had time to catch his breath by Friday.
The defenseman shrugged off the heavy load he logged Wednesday night in the triple-overtime thriller that the Blackhawks won 4-3.
"It’s obviously a long game, but I feel comfortable," Keith said. "I take good care of myself and we have good trainers and everyone who steers us in the right direction. I’ll be ready to go."
Keith was on the ice for 48 minutes, 40 seconds in Game 1.
Then again, he’s used to playing big minutes. He led the Blackhawks in time on ice per game during the regular season at 24:06 and is tops on the team in the playoffs at 27:03.
"It’s almost expected out of him," captain Jonathan Toews said. "You know he’s going to log a lot of minutes and he’s going to be out there in every situation and he never fails. He always comes up with something. He’s always leading us in some category. People don’t appreciate it because it’s expected of him. But he’s as consistent as it gets. He’s a heck of a competitor, too, a great leader."
Coach Joel Quenneville called Keith a "thoroughbred."
"His conditioning level is at a different level than most players," he said. "He’s able to absorb big minutes. This year is one year we conscientiously tried to cut down his minutes because the scheduling is so tight. As the season has progressed and in the playoffs, he’s picked up more minutes. He relishes ice time. He loves to play more. I think the more you play defense, it’s easier to play better."
He was the only Blackhawk to play 40 minutes. Boston’s Dennis Seidenberg (48:36), Andrew Ference (45:19), Zdeno Chara (45:05) and Johnny Boychuk (41:37) all logged more than 40.
nQuenneville joining elite: From George Halas to Mike Ditka and Phil Jackson, Chicago has had its share of larger-than-life coaches.
Now, Quenneville is three wins away from his second championship after leading the Blackhawks to one in 2010.
"It’s a special place, Chicago," Quenneville said. "It’s a great sports city. It’s a great environment. People are very passionate about their teams, their sports as well."