CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks will be without top defenseman Duncan Keith for an estimated 4-6 weeks after he had surgery Tuesday to repair a meniscal tear in his right knee, according to Blackhawks head physician Dr. Michael Terry.
The defending Stanley Cup champions will have to replace not only Keith's speed and stamina, but leadership and elite skills in all zones. Keith plays in all situations and logged the most minutes of any player in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs (715:37). Since his rookie season in 2005-06, Keith's 19,544:17 played in 11 regular seasons is second only to St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (19,991:05) among active players.
"[He] kind of always exceeds expectations," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said after practice Tuesday. "I think in this case, at a certain point, something's got to give. He's been playing his tail off for three years in a row, more ice time than anybody. Sometimes things happen. But for our team, we've played without some of our top players before. We've got to find ways to do it again."