No one in this universe or the next would suggest the Chicago Blackhawks are better off without defenseman Duncan Keith. Yet the team is 3-0 since he went on the long-term injured reserve with a knee injury.
Since Keith had surgery to repair a meniscus tear, the Blackhawks have defeated the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Anaheim Ducks. They have only given up two goals in three games, winning back-to-back 1-0 overtime decisions against the Lightning and Ducks.
The only benefit of Keith’s injury is that the Blackhawks are getting to see what they have in Trevor van Riemsdyk and Viktor Svedberg. Both been solid in their expanded roles. Also, offensive-minded Trevor Daley and David Rundblad now have a greater opportunity to strut. This is particularly important for Rundblad because he is still trying to earn the complete trust of Coach Joel Quenneville.
Remember, too, that Keith’s injury comes on top of the Blackhawks losing No. 4 defenseman Johnny Oduya to free agency last summer.
The Blackhawks were able to win the…