(CBS) News of Blackhawks star defenseman Duncan Keith missing the World Cup of Hockey to rest his injured right knee came as a concern, especially after he missed 18 games early last season.
But Keith was just looking to rest the ailment, which was never 100 percent during the 2015-’16 campaign. He’s now back with the Blackhawks in training camp and has general manager Stan Bowman impressed.
“It’s good to see Duncan on the ice here,” Bowman said Tuesday. “He looks great to me in practice. He looks like he hasn’t missed a beat.”
Keith had surgery last October to repair a meniscus tear and returned less than a month later, well ahead of schedule. However, his knee wasn’t quite healed as he played through the season.
The Blackhawks were eliminated in Game 7 of their first-round series with the Blues. That afforded Keith a long offseason to rest and rehabilitate the right knee.
“The hard part about the season is that you never get to take a couple months and rehab an injury,” Bowman said. “You have to keep playing through it. In Duncs’ case, there was no alarm to it. We thought he would feel better when he had time to rest.”
The 33-year-old Keith told reporters Tuesday that his knee is feeling fine, though his recovery is still ongoing as he works to be 100 percent for the start of the season.
Bowman spoke on several topics Tuesday but declined to discuss ongoing negotiations with second-year forward Artemi Panarin. A report suggested that Panarin was looking for a six-year deal.
The Blackhawks drop the puck on their preseason slate Wednesday when they host the defending champion Penguins at the United Center. Their regular-season opener comes Oct. 12 when the host the Blues in Chicago.