LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Duncan Keith had plenty of reason to show off his new teeth.
The Chicago Blackhawks defenceman couldn’t stop smiling after accepting the Norris Trophy as the league’s top blue-liner at the NHL’s awards gala on Wednesday evening. It was quite a way to top off a season that saw him win an Olympic gold medal and the Stanley Cup.
“It’s just been a whirlwind,” said Keith. “It seems like it’s one thing after the next. You want to get rest, you want to sleep, but at that same time you don’t want to miss any of the fun.”
The 26-year-old has spent some time in a dental chair since the Stanley Cup ended. The big gap in the front of his mouth has been filled with some pearly whites—although they’re just a stop-gap solution for the seven teeth he lost after taking a puck in the face during the Western Conference final.
“They’re temporary ones right now,” said Keith. “It’s nice to have teeth in and a better smile, but they don’t feel that great to be honest with you. They’re all plastic so I don’t feel anything when I’m chewing with them.”
The 26-year-old won the Norris Trophy over Mike Green of the Washington Capitals and Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings. He registered career highs in goals (14), assists (55) and points (69) and posted a plus-21 rating.
Keith’s acceptance speech was cut off and he was quick to tell the media that he didn’t have time to thank defence partner Brent Seabrook. The award would never of been his with the help of teammates.
“A lot has to go right,” said Keith. “It’s really a lot of times you’re on a good team, and I was fortunate enough to be on a good team this year.”
It’s been an incredibly busy few weeks. After taking part in Chicago’s Stanley Cup parade and celebration, he was one of the players who flew to Los Angeles to appear on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
With the awards now over, he’s looking forward to getting back to his summer home in British Columbia for a little rest and relaxation. But he knows another season isn’t too far away.
“It’s nice to win this award and win championships,” said Keith. “But I think as soon as the summer goes by and training camp starts going again, all the hunger will come back. It’s nice to enjoy it now, but once you strap on the skates again everything’s all about winning.
“And one year—one good year—is not going to make me satisfied.”