LeBrun: Keith refreshed and recharged


CHICAGO -- It is foolish, of course, to read too much into a training camp scrimmage, let alone the first day.

But darn it if Duncan Keith didn't look like the Duncan Keith of old out there Saturday before a sold-out crowd at United Center as the Chicago Blackhawks opened camp.

Good omen? The Blackhawks certainly hope so. For if there's an overriding factor in Chicago's return to glory, it's a bounce-back season from the 2009-10 Norris Trophy winner.

Let's make one thing clear -- Keith did not have a bad campaign last season. We can name 30 NHL head coaches who would take 45 points (7-38) in 82 games from a workhorse who once again led the team in ice time.

The thing is, Keith set the bar so high the previous season that he fell victim to his own lofty standards. Unless your name is Nicklas Lidstrom, it can be a little daunting having to follow up a career-high 69 points (14-55), a Norris Trophy and standout performances at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics (Canada won the gold medal) and Stanley Cup playoffs (Chicago won it all). He was the world's best defenseman in 2009-10. He wasn't last season.

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