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A bittersweet night for Keith

6/24/2010
Duncan Keith was named the NHL's top defender on Wednesday. Harry How/Getty Images

LAS VEGAS -- On a night where he was celebrated as the best defenseman in the league, Duncan Keith must have some bittersweet feelings.

After accepting the Norris Trophy, Keith addressed the pending trade that will officially break up the Stanley Cup champions just two weeks after the team won the Cup.

“It saddens me,” Keith said. “Those are my good buddies leaving our team.”

Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel, and Ben Eager are on the move to Atlanta. The deal might not break up the core of the team but certainly changes the dynamic on and off the ice for the Blackhawks.

“You know things are going to change when you win the Cup and the way our cap situation was,” Keith said. “It’s too bad it had to be like this.

“I was with Buff since he was drafted. And Sopel I grew up watching him in B.C. [British Columbia] playing for the Canucks and then he’s my teammate.”

Keith had kind words for Eager as well and knows there will always be a bond with those leaving.

“We’re just going to have to keep moving forward,” he said. “That’s hockey. Teams change every year. You lose friends, you lose teammates and you stay in touch but it’s not really the same as playing with them.”