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updated: 4/23/2013 9:04 PM

No good reason for Keith to be such a grouch

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  • Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith tries to clear a Canucks shot as goalie Corey Crawford looks on Monday night at Vancouver.

    Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith tries to clear a Canucks shot as goalie Corey Crawford looks on Monday night at Vancouver.
    Associated Press


Don't take it personally, ladies, because Duncan Keith can be an equal-opportunity grump.

I take pride in also having received the snotty-nosed treatment from the Blackhawks defenseman.

The only reason this would be even remotely interesting is that hockey players deservedly are considered the most cooperative of all athletes.

That's good because locally and nationally the NHL needs as much coverage as possible to spread the word of this perennial fourth-place sport throughout the United States.

Every demographic group has exceptions, however. Keith made news the other night by being grouchy with a woman reporter after a Hawks loss in Vancouver.

The guy has this all wrong. Hockey players are supposed to be grizzly bears on the ice and teddy bears off it. If Keith could get it right, maybe the Hawks wouldn't be outhit in games as much as they are.

Anyway, I don't know a tweet from a parakeet or a hash tag from a hash brown, so someone had to inform me that the incident made waves on social media.

Apparently the heart of Twitter went all atwitter over the way Keith wasn't exactly receptive to a couple of questions asked by the reporter.

This derived from an alleged whack Keith applied to the back of Daniel Sedin of the Canucks. Instead of providing legitimate answers to legitimate questions he chose to question the legitimacy of the questioner.

After listening to a recording of the exchange, I didn't think it was much different from many contentious exchanges between reporters and athletes on most given days.

Hey, it happens and generally nobody outside of the media cares anyway. But on this given day the reporter was a woman, which inflamed the responses on various social networks.

(To her credit, the female reporter joked on Twitter that the incident was renewing the Chicago-Vancouver rivalry.)

Nor did I take it seriously after Keith was grouchy after a game last season at the United Center. Working on a positive column about a Hawks player, I approached him and fellow defenseman Brent Seabrook for a couple of quotes on their teammate.

Seabrook was cordial. But when I misunderstood something he said, I asked for clarification and Keith took it upon himself to insult my dedication to research.

I forgot about it the next day until being reminded by this week's scene in Vancouver.

Back then, after I returned to a group of reporters on the other side of the Hawks' dressing room, one mentioned that he noticed that I was talking with Keith.

He raised his eyebrows and explained that Keith had become difficult to deal with, which, again isn't anything unusual enough for reporters to write home about.

Except that now Keith has had a bad day with me, a bad day with the reporter in Vancouver and apparently enough bad days with the Chicago media to have been characterized at times as a serial grouch.

Why is Keith intent on being one? Who knows? You would think he'd be perpetually happy playing a game that most people would love to play for a living and enjoying the life of a millionaire that most people would love to live.

An athlete's excuse is that the pressure of professional sports is intense, as if his job were more difficult than having to work on the docks or in construction for a lot less money than hockey players are paid.

Duncan Keith doesn't seem to have much to be grumpy about but keeps indicating that he feels compelled to be.

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