Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith out 4-6 weeks after having knee surgery

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CHICAGO - The man who was a critical part of the Blackhawks' third Stanley Cup championship in June won't be around to help the team defend it for a month or two.

On Tuesday morning the Blackhawks announced that defenseman Duncan Keith underwent successful surgery to repair a right knee meniscal tear and will miss the next 4-to-6 weeks.

“Duncan underwent successful surgery today to repair his right knee meniscal tear,” said Blackhawks Team Physician Dr. Michael Terry in a statement released by the team. “The surgery was successful and we expect him to return to full hockey activities in approximately 4-6 weeks.”

The news might come as a surprise to Blackhawks fans who have seen Keith on the ice for the Blackhawks first six games of the season. Keith logged 25:34 of ice time in Saturday's win over the Blue Jackets at the United Center and was on the ice for 21 or more minutes in the previous five games.

Through six games has a pair of assists which came in the Blackhawks' 3-2 win over the Islanders on October 9th in Brooklyn.

A three-time Stanley Cup champion, Keith was key to the Blackhawks' title run last spring. He scored three goals and had 18 assists and was a critical anchor on a short-handed defense that won the franchise's third Stanley Cup in six seasons.

For his efforts Keith was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the Stanley Cup Playoff's MVP.

With the team since the 2005-2006 season, Keith has been a durable player. He missed just four game all of last season and just five the year before that. The recovery from the knee injury will be the longest stretch off the ice in his career.

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