Keith doesn't want to be known as dirty player
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The worst part of being suspended for Duncan Keith is the fact the NHL considers him a repeat offender.
"I don't feel good about having 'repeat offender' on there, but it was a play that obviously you'd like to have back," said Keith, who was suspended for five games last season for elbowing Vancouver's Daniel Sedin in the head. "To me it's over with now and I'm excited about the hockey game now."
Keith, who was suspended for Game 4 for slashing Kings forward Jeff Carter in the face, was back to the Blackhawks' lineup Saturday for Game 5 of the Western Conference finals. Keith contributed quickly, as he smoked a slapshot through the five-hole of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick just 3:42 into the first period to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.
While Keith was relieved and one of the happiest guys in the dressing room following the 3-2 win in Game 4 that gave the Hawks a 3-1 lead in the series, he wasn't surprised by the result.
"We've got a lot of great players in this room, too," Keith said. "Especially you look at our defense corps and guys just step up. It's just guys move into different roles, play a few more minutes and that's all it was. But it definitely feels good that we won."
Keith wasn't worried the Hawks might lose and his suspension would be viewed as the turning point in the series.
"It's a seven-game series," Keith said, "and we've got a strong group mentally in this room and it's not something I think would be a focus point."
Keith also wasn't worried about being a target of the Kings in Game 5.
"I get run at every game," Keith said. "Game 2 of the series, I got hit pretty hard, I think it was Game 2, by Dustin Brown. It happens almost every game."
The new Byfuglien:
Bryan Bickell's big playoff has drawn comparisons to what Dustin Byfuglien did in the 2010 Cup run.
"Yeah, he's a great kid," Patrick Kane said. "We've all enjoyed his success. He's a character for sure. Probably one of the nicest, humblest guys on the team, too. So it's good to see him doing well. He deserves it. He's worked hard for it. I'm happy for him."
Bickell is enjoying being the center of attention.
"I'm just having fun with it," Bickell said. "It's been a great playoffs for myself and I feel grateful to the team. Most importantly, I'm just happy that the team is winning."
Hawks vs. Sharks:
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty was asked to compare the Hawks to the Sharks, who lost to Los Angeles in seven games in the last round.
"(Chicago) has a little more depth," Doughty said. "San Jose didn't have really have the strongest third and fourth line. They had great first two lines. This team, even their third and fourth line has some pretty good players on it.
"But they haven't been the ones doing the damage -- it's been the first and second line."
Great pick up:
It didn't get a lot of attention in the off-season, but the signing of defenseman Michal Rozsival as a free agent is looking pretty good now.
It was Rozsival who stepped up big time in Game 4 to fill in for the suspended Duncan Keith. This is exactly what Rozsival had in mind when he picked the Hawks over several other teams.
"It's what I imagined and we're on the right track," Rozsival said. "I knew I was signing with a great team and so far it's paying off. I'm having lots of fun playing with this group. I couldn't be happier right now."
"Yeah, I did (have other teams interested), but definitely I knew the Blackhawks, with the personnel they have and the players they have up front, from playing against them last year in the playoffs when I was with Phoenix. I knew we'd have a great team and definitely be a contender in the playoffs."
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