Even if he hadn’t scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal Monday night, Duncan Keith was going to take home the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The fact Keith put home his own rebound late in the second to give the Chicago Blackhawks all the offence they’d need in a 2-0 win simply removed all doubt as to who’d get the hardware. The 31-year-old was a unanimous choice.
The former Penticton Panthers (1999-2001) star and 2001 BCHL Top Defenceman Award winner logged a game-high 30:19 of ice time in Chicago’s Game 6 victory. Each of Keith’s three playoff goals was a game-winner and he wound up with 21 points in 23 games.
“It feels so great,” Keith told Brian Hedger of NHL.com. “You want to keep being a part of these things. You don’t get these awards without being on great teams with great players, and I’m just proud to be a part of this group of guys who cares so much and do whatever it takes.”
It took Keith averaging 31:06 of ice time in the playoffs, the most of any player advancing past the first round. He also became just the fourth NHLer to play more than 700 minutes in a posteseason. All in, he was on the ice for 715:37, helping Chicago go 16-7 on their way to their third Cup in six seasons.
In the BCHL, Keith racked up 27 goals and 91 assists over two seasons to go along with 98 penalty minutes. He earned a scholarship to Michigan State University, enrolling as a true freshman out of high school in 2001. After his first NCAA season, the Blackhawks chose Keith in the second round, 54th overall in the 2002 Entry Draft. Upon turning pro, he played two full seasons with American Hockey League Norfolk before making the Hawks roster for the 2005-06 season