Blackhawks' Keith wonders, 'Who makes that stuff up?'
On a whirlwind day at the United Center, Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith was asked what a team should do when rumors about players' personal lives begin to surface and eventually become a distraction.
"I think it's good," Keith said Monday after the morning skate. "It seems like there's so much B.S. out there. I don't know where it comes from. I don't know who makes that stuff up or where they get off saying those type of things."
Patrick Sharp has been the subject of the rumors, and defenseman Brent Seabrook brought up the subject Sunday to a group of reporters after practice. An emotional Sharp then addressed the subject of his reported infidelity, calling claims "completely false and untrue."
Keith continued with his thoughts Monday: "I think Sharpie said it: It would be comical or laughable if it wasn't you or your family involved. It becomes (where) you drag other people into it.
"We've got a close group here. We've played with one another for a long time. All these rumors and stuff is just a bunch B.S. to us players. We're out here playing hockey, and we love our teammates.
"Whatever gets said outside of our locker room shouldn't really matter. But when it gets to be something ridiculous like that, it needs to be addressed."
For its part, the website reporting the story wasn't backing down from its claims Sunday night and through Monday. Keith was then asked if it makes it tough to deal with the media when stories like this break.
He didn't hesitate when answering, "I like dealing with you guys. I see you guys (as opposed to the faceless writers behind the reports). I don't know who's making that (garbage) up, but it doesn't make it challenging for me talking to you guys."
General manager Stan Bowman said he has never seen a "more unified" Hawks team in 14 years with the team.
"I'm with these guys an awful lot -- on the road, at home," Bowman said. "You watch them around team meals -- they're all together, they're interacting. We've never had more cohesiveness before. I'm not sure where that comes from. … We would know if it was a problem. And it certainly is not."
Newly acquired center Antoine Vermette was a bit emotional during a conference call with reporters Sunday afternoon when talking about leaving Arizona, a franchise he'd been with for almost four full seasons.
"You get attached to people," Vermette said Monday in the Hawks' locker room.
Still, the veteran with 194 goals in 815 NHL games under his belt, recognizes the opportunity he has with a Stanley Cup contending team.
"Overall it's still a very exciting position for me," he said. "It's a good position to be in. I look forward to this challenge. … Mostly very excited and happy to be here."
Just hours before Monday's trade deadline, the Blackhawks made one final move, sending right wing Ben Smith to San Jose for Andrew Desjardins.
Desjardins is a 6-foot-1, 195-pound center who had 5 goals and 3 assists with San Jose this season while averaging 10:27 of ice time. He comes with an expiring contract, while Smith has one year left on his deal at $1.5 million.
The trade saves the Hawks about $1 million under the salary cap in 2015-16. The Hawks also gave San Jose a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2017 draft.
The Sharks are picking up half of Desjardins' remaining salary.