Hawks blueliner unsung hero

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:34 AM ET

CHICAGO -- Quick, name the Chicago Blackhawks defenceman who led the team in ice-time.

Hint, he has been to the NHL all-star game. Easy question, right? Brian Campbell.

Wrong. It's Duncan Keith.

Over the next while, Flames fans can fully expect to see plenty of the Chicago blueliner who very well may be the best defenceman nobody talks about.

The Flames, especially Jarome Iginla, will likely, too. When the best-of-seven opening-round series starts tonight, and onward, it's a good bet every time the Flames put No. 12 on the ice, Chicago's No. 2 will be out there as much as possible.

"It's a huge challenge for myself and the other guys, but it's one I'm looking forward to," Keith said after yesterday's practice.

In the regular season, they made it look easy. Over the four meetings, all Chicago wins, Iginla was goalless.

"I don't know if it was easy," Keith said. "We definitely had some bounces go our way in the regular season."

Sure, that's possible, but before it's decided which of these teams advances to the next stage of the Stanley Cup tournament, Keith will make his presence known.

He was chosen for last season's all-star game and is coming off a terrific regular season in which he collected eight goals, 44 points and a team-best plus-33 rating.

Certainly, his teammates expect Keith's first playoff series to be an introduction to just how good he is.

"He's definitely flown under the radar," said his defence partner Brent Seabrook.

"I think he could have been an all-star, for sure.

"And I think he should be up for the Norris."


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