As the Blackhawks look to their match-up Friday with the New York Rangers, they are preparing to be without injured defenseman Duncan Keith
. Keith, who left Wednesday’s game against Buffalo after taking a big hit from Drew Stafford, is currently listed as day-to-day but did not practice with the team Thursday.
“We’re going to miss him - he’s a great player,” said Brian Campbell. “But you have to move on. It doesn’t matter who is or isn’t in the lineup. It’s the same thing as when Pat Kane went out or whenever anyone goes down. Other guys have to step up.”
Although Keith did not seem to be hurt too seriously and made it off the ice under his own power, many of the Hawks were upset by the hit, as it appeared that Stafford got his elbows up just before contact.
"It's a dirty hit regardless if it's a shoulder - it's shoulder right to head and it's defenseless," Ben Eager said after the game. "That guy probably had two hits all year. That team has been through it before and they should know better."
“It was scary seeing him get up and skate away after the hit,” said Keith’s defensive partner Brent Seabrook
. “He could have hurt himself very seriously.”
Whether or not the hit on Keith was clean, teammates applauded the penalty that Eager drew after retaliating against Stafford.
“Those penalties are easy to kill off when you’re sticking up for a teammate,” said Patrick Kane
. “It was an awesome kill. It definitely changed the game.”
“That penalty kill really said a lot about this team,” said Campbell. “We’re going to stick up for one another. We’re a team. We’re going to be with each other the whole way.”