TORONTO — Duncan Keith’s knee is “nothing to be alarmed about,” according to Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman. But that doesn’t mean he’s a lock to be in uniform when the puck drops at the United Center on Oct. 12.
“I try not to put any expectations on it,” Bowman said Thursday, decked out in his Team North America gear for the World Cup of Hockey. “He’ll be ready when he’s ready. It’s nothing to be alarmed about. Right now, we’re not trying to put timeframes on it. We’ll have a better feel once we get into exhibition games, and if he’s ready to play, he’ll play. … I don’t have a feel for it right now.”
Keith pulled out of the World Cup on Aug. 24, citing the right knee that was operated on last October. Keith missed less than a month after undergoing surgery to repair a meniscal tear suffered during the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. Keith sat out just 10 games and was, as usual, the Hawks’ defensive workhorse for the rest of the season.
But the Hawks’ longest offseason in four years apparently wasn’t enough to get the knee back to 100 percent. So he chose to focus on continuing to strengthen the knee rather than risk injury at the World Cup.
“Your first course of action is always to just see how it reacts, and you won’t know that until you go through time,” Bowman said. “I think Dunc just didn’t feel where he hoped he would feel. And when he had to make the call, he doesn’t want to leave [Team] Canada high and dry [so he gave] them enough time to prepare.
“He’s no different than a lot of our guys that have things that they played through all year long. Nine times out of 10, when they rest up, they feel better by training camp. Dunc is one of those guys where it just wasn’t up to where he hoped it would be.”