“I felt like it had really good stretches and then there (were) times I would just … I don’t want to say … lose focus, but just was not really … interested for whatever reason.” Duncan Keith, 4/22/2011
Duncan Keith finally came clean Friday afternoon. He admitted what many have speculated, and Keith’s on-ice performance suggested most of the 2010-11 season.
The Blackhawks top defenseman and highest-paid player in franchise history admitted his game suffered through stretches when Keith told reporters upon arriving at O’Hare airport on Friday that he wasn’t “interested for whatever reason” at points during this season. Keith also said he wasn’t excited coming into the season, which he blamed on a short summer.
2010-11 was the first year of 13-year contract extension Duncan Keith signed in December of 2009. He was paid $8 million this season, a 420% raise off his prior year salary, and will make another $64M over the next twelve seasons. Keith will earn an average of $7.75M for the next five years, through the 2015-16 season. Because his deal in heavily frontloaded, Keith’s cap hit (total dollar value divided by term) is $5.538M per season.
Two writers on the scene, Brian Hedger of NHL.com and ESPNChicago’s Jesse Rogers got the story and have the full quotes. Incredibly, at least as of this writing, the story also appears on the Blackhawks official web site. But here are the meat and potatoes of Keith’s confession from Hedger’s article.