Duncan Keith made history Saturday night. Fittingly, Brent Seabrook did, too.
Keith played in his 1,000th regular-season game as the Blackhawks faced the Blues at the United Center. And Seabrook appeared in his 1,009th game with the Hawks, passing Bob Murray for the most games for a defenseman in team history.
In warmups, the Hawks wore No. 2 jerseys with KEITH on the back. He was honored in a pregame ceremony (emceed by Ed Olczyk) in which he was presented with a silver stick by Seabrook and Patrick Sharp. A painting depicting his career was unveiled by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
“They grew up a little bit right from the outset together and have been a big part of our organization, a big part of the success,” coach Joel Quenneville said.
Keith and Seabrook also became the only active teammates to have skated in 1,000 games, and it was their 973rd game together. That total is the most for teammates in the regular season among active players and the most all time for defensemen.
Perhaps in recognition of the event, Quenneville started Keith and Seabrook together.
Schmaltz vs. Schmaltz
The game was the first regular-season matchup between Hawks center Nick Schmaltz and Blues defenseman Jordan Schmaltz, his older brother. They have faced off in the preseason and in the AHL . . . and, of course, growing up together in Verona, Wisconsin.
“We had a little roller rink downstairs in our house growing up,’’ Nick Schmaltz said. ‘‘It would be against my sister [Kylie Schmaltz] and my brother. Those were probably the best battles. Someone would usually come up crying with a high stick or with a puck to the face or something like that. A lot of good memories. Looking back on it, it was awesome to have that and work on each other’s game and push each other to get better.”
Nick, 22, has established himself, but it was only the 24th regular-season game of 25-year-old Jordan’s career and second of the season.
“This is why you sign up to play the game in the first place, to reach the highest level,” Jordan Schmaltz said. “And to play against your brother, it makes it that much more special.”
Brandon Saad started on the fourth line, and Alexandre Fortin opened with Schmaltz and Kane. Saad had only one assist in the first four games.
Kane looked for positives, saying Saad can add balance to the lineup on the fourth line and just needs better luck to start scoring. He also recalled that he played on the fourth line “a bunch of times,” too. The last time, Kane said, was as a center in Game 6 of the 2012 conference quarterfinals against the Coyotes.
“But even before that, when I wasn’t producing, [Quenneville would] throw me down there for, like, a game, and then when you start playing better, he moves you up pretty quickly,” Kane said. “But, hey, maybe that’ll help our lineup and maybe it’ll help production across the board.”
Goalie Cam Ward, along with Keith and Saad, did not take part in the morning skate but played against the Blues. With Ward absent, Corey Crawford got a chance for more participation in the early session.