Thirty minutes of ice time? Check. Stanley Cup clinching goal? Check. Conn Smythe Trophy? Check. These days it’s good to be Duncan Keith.
The former Michigan State defenseman is at the top of the hockey world right now, and shows no signs of slowing down. Just like he showed no signs of slowing down in these playoffs.
Despite the ungodly minutes he played (over 700) and grueling punishment, Keith kept rolling on. As he rolled on, he made both opponents and national pundits look silly for saying that the former Spartan would eventually tire out.
For some reason Keith just never gets tired. I guess that’s what happens when you have a V0X score of 71 (still an MSU hockey record).
Keith finished this postseason leading all defenseman in points (21), all players in plus/minus (+16) and averaged over 31 minutes of ice time per game. Still, the only thing that truly matters to the indefatigable defenseman is that he finishes the season as a Stanley Cup champion.
With Chicago’s third Stanley Cup in six years, Keith now becomes the first MSU hockey player to win three Stanley Cups. He also becomes the first Spartan to win the Conn Smythe trophy, awarded for playoff MVP.
A product of the Ron Mason era, Keith garnered 24 points during his MSU hockey career, including a critical goal in the 2001 Cold War game between Michigan State and Michigan.
While Keith only spent a season and a half in East Lansing before leaving for the OHL, he is still considered a Spartan icon. His name is on the “Spartans in the NHL” mural and his likeness adorns the halls of Munn, Stanley Cup lifted high, for all the world to see.
Last summer, the hockey writers here at Impact Sports compiled a list of the top five Spartan hockey players of all time. Keith did not make our lists due to his limited career at MSU. But if we were to make a list of the greatest Spartans in the NHL, I think Keith would be a consensus No. 1 pick.
Three Stanley Cups, two Norris Trophies, and a Conn Smythe is a pretty compelling argument after all.
Photo: Jonathan Yales/Impact