It was a night to remember for all Blackhawks fans last night. Defenseman Duncan Keith did his first game with the Chicago Blackhawks back in 2005 and stayed with the club until last summer. Last night, he returned to the United Center for the first time as an opponent, and the applause and appreciation from the fans never seemed to end.
During the first television timeout, the Blackhawks showed a welcome-back video. The fans’ cheering was never-ending, and Keith even left the bench to do a small lap on the ice.
But the celebrations for Keith started even before the pucked dropped. The Blackhawks had invited former Hawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to drop the puck in a ceremonial puck drop. Keith battled Jonathan Toews for the puck, and although it was just ceremonial, it sure looked to be some prestige on the line as well. Keith and Toews battled hard and almost looked like they were going mad before Toews eventually stopped, laughed it off, and gave the puck to Keith.
The Chicago Blackhawks got the final laugh in the game, as they outlasted Keith and the Oilers 4-3 in overtime. Keith played for nearly 21 minutes.
“It feels like yesterday that I was in here, eating pregame meals and things like that,” he said on Wednesday. “I spent a lot of time here. It’s nice to be back, but it’s a unique feeling.”