Duncan Keith did not feel right about a month ago.
It was the right knee, one on which he had surgery last October, so Keith decided not to play for Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto. Instead, he focused on getting that knee fully heal and prepare for this season with the Blackhawks.
A month later, it turns out to be a wise decision.
Keith will not play in Saturday's scrimmage, but he practiced on Friday when the Blackhawks opened training camp at Johnny's Icehouse West. While he will not make it all the preseason - assistant coach Mike Kitchen said Keith may not play in any scrimmages - Keith feels better than it did when they bowed out of the World Cup.
"It's kind of been basically happening for a while now. I tried to use some time in the summer it is to relax and do some different things. Once I started skating did not respond well, so I had to do a few different things to try and get ready for this, "said Keith. "It was disappointing, I was ready to go to the World Cup. But maybe I would not be where I am now if I did not have time to get rest and start skating again until a few weeks ago."
Brent Seabrook was not surprised that Keith did not show much of a problem.
"This guy is amazing. It seems that not missed a step. But Dunc for you," said Seabrook. "It's one of those guys kind.
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Keith said it was skating for about a month now, so the 25-minute workout on Friday there was no problem.
Assistant coach Mike Kitchen said Keith "should be fine" for the season. Kitchen added that Keith will not push this preseason, will also leave it to Keith to decide if he wants to play later brawl. Given how much Keith plays during the season, Kitchen said he was going to be as careful as possible these next two-plus weeks. And they will try to rein in workaholic Keith as much as they can.
"He wanted to go to two practices, and we said:" No, just go one, "said Kitchen." We're in the camp so soon. There is no reason to push him at all. "
Regarding physical fitness Keith, Kitchen has in this area without having to worry, either.
"He brought that up the other day. I watched him before camp started and he was really pushing myself. I said," How can you push yourself so hard? You're fit guy anyway. "You do not lose it. These guys do not lose their shape and are aware of," said Kitchen. "He is such a high level, and it does not take much for him to maintain this level."
Keith was disappointed to miss the World Cup of Hockey, but of course he likes what Team Canada is doing there so far - "I think he will win, but we'll see what happens." But Keith had to do what was best for him and the Blackhawks. Now is optimistic that it will be ready to start the season.
"There is no fear, to be honest with you. It's like any type of thing you go through where you do rehab and get it ready, and when you're ready to game play and there's no excuses until then," said Keith. "I'm sure I feel strong out there. I feel that this offseason gave me plenty of time to basically recover from six, seven, eight seasons before that. Since I have skated in a long time and get back on the ice here in September I think that everything is just a little shake some of the rust and make sure my knee is getting better and better. "