The following is an excerpt from "One Goal III: The Inside Story of the 2015 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks." The book goes on sale Tuesday, Nov. 10 at all Blackhawks Store locations or shop.nhl.com.
Out of everything he's accomplished in his 10-year National Hockey League career, encompassing championships and Olympic gold medals and awards, there's no question what Duncan Keith holds dearest.
"I'm proud of the three Stanley Cups -- I don't think anything tops that," he said. "It's the ultimate pinnacle of success for a team, winning the Cup. The gold medals are right up there as well; it's a different mindset, a different feeling, knowing you represent your country, but I think the things you win as a team bring the most happiness."
It should come as a surprise to absolutely no one that Keith is most comfortable defining himself as a foot soldier, demurring whenever he is singled out for individual accomplishments. When NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman summoned him to the red carpet at center ice to receive the Conn Smythe Trophy late in the evening of June 15, he skated across the ice, good-naturedly ducking a few head ruffles from teammates and waving to the crowd. But when he got his hands on the hardware, the grin directed at the cameras was brief, almost perfunctory.
Was it the weight of the trophy that's handed out annually to the most valuable player of the postseason? Couldn't be, not with an even heavier, shinier beauty waiting to be hoisted just minutes later -- and he did that with jubilance and triumph written all over his bearded face.
Maybe Keith was somewhat bewildered, being in the spotlight like that. After all, the Conn Smythe isn't meant to be shared, although that didn't stop him from trying.
"When you look at the names on the trophies, that's a special group and a special honor," he acknowledged. "At the same time it's very humbling. Anybody who has won those awards knows you don't get them without having great teammates and a great organization. Hockey is the ultimate team game, and you never get anything like that without being surrounded by great players."
His teammates weren't as hesitant to chime in on Keith's achievements throughout the playoffs.
"It's about time he got some recognition like that," said Brent Seabrook , Keith's longest-tenured teammate and defensive partner, and one of his best friends in hockey. "All three Cup wins, he's been a horse and a monster for us, and it's been fun to watch."
"That guy was unbelievable," said Corey Crawford , who has enjoyed one of the best views of Keith's oeuvre throughout the years. "I don't think I've seen anyone play any better."