By now, Duncan Keith's ability to play about 150 million minutes a game has become one of the most widely discussed parts of Chicago's postseason run. This TSN article has more on Keith, the gist being that if he keeps skating 31:26 a night (no big deal, right?), his average ice time will be the highest since the league and Elias Sports Bureau started tracking it back in 1998.
Here to help us understand how one guy can handle so much playing time is none other than former Dallas Stars captain Derian Hatcher. Hatcher, for those curious, averaged 29:06 across 18 playoff games when Dallas won the Cup in 1999; he also consistently topped 24 minutes during regular-season play. (You can check out his other playoff minutes here, and Keith's are here for comparison's sake.)
"I think that you get used to it," said Derian Hatcher, who averaged almost 28 minutes a game for the Dallas Stars in 2000. "I think when you're used to it and when you're conditioned to it, it's not a big deal at all. You kind of expect it."
Hatcher, now co-owner of the Ontario Hockey League's Sarnia Sting, thinks some of that is psychological.
"What happens sometimes, too, is when you do get used to it, maybe other people are getting tired and you're not," Hatcher said in a phone interview last week. "Everyone thinks you're getting worn down but you're really not. … The players that usually get that ice, they handle it just fine."
Hatcher goes on to talk about how much getting hit can affect your energy level, then points out that this has affected Kimmo Timonen rather than Keith.
"Skating's easy for hockey players because that's what they do. But it's when you're stopped and started.
"Just like when you're running, someone stops you and you've got to start back up. That's where it becomes tough."
Still, we'll have to wait and see whether the heavy workload finally catches up with Keith, but thankfully, we don't have to wait much longer.
Tomorrow, tomorrow, it's only a day away! And by it, I mean the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. Your days of aimlessly staring at the TV and feeling despondent without any hockey to turn on are almost over. Well, until mid-June, so maybe they're just coming to a middle.
And since Game 1 is tomorrow, here are a few storylines you might want to look over, courtesy of ESPN. We've got dynamic duos, old friends, Old Guys Without a Stanley Cup — basically, all the elements of high drama. [ESPN]
In Texas Stars news, captain Maxime Fortunus won't be re-signed for next season. [Wrong Side of the Redline]
Mike Heika brings you the Stars' top 10 draft picks, and the No. 1 and No. 2 spots are filled by who you might expect. (And I hope everyone is as amused by that picture of John Klingberg as I am. :P) [Dallas Morning News]
Okay, y'all. Let's get weird. Tabatha Patterson over at The Hockey Writers has the top 10 ways that the Stars were a little wacky during the 2014-15 season. Feel free to chime in with your favorite strange encounters. [THW]
On a more serious note, the New York Rangers' locker cleanout brought some scary news. Mats Zuccarello, who'd been sidelined since April 24 with what had been presumed to be a concussion, actually suffered a brain contusion during the first round of the playoffs. Zuccarello said he couldn't speak for four days and lost some feeling in his arm. [TSN]
Over at Grantland, you can read about how the Ducks and Rangers are feeling now that they're out of the Cup hunt. Spoiler alert: They're kinda bummed about the way things ended up. [Grantland]
In case this got missed in the post-Game 7 shuffle, Devante Smith-Pelly, who was traded to Montreal from Anaheim back in February, tweeted this after his former team was eliminated on Saturday. It, ahem, ruffled the feathers of a few Ducks fans. [Montreal Gazette]
:)— Devante Smith-Pelly (@smithpelly23) May 31, 2015