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IN BRIEF: Quenneville keeping close watch on ice time of iron man Keith


Coach Joel Quenneville acknowledged again that the Blackhawks will be watchful of the minutes defenseman Duncan Keith is logging early this season.

Keith surpassed 30 minutes for the sixth time in the first eight games in Wednesday's win against the Vancouver Canucks. He barely left the ice in overtime of the Hawks' 3-2 shootout win, playing 3:16 of the five-minute period.

Keith has played 241 minutes, 26 seconds -- by far the most in the NHL. As of Thursday, defensive partner Brent Seabrook was next at 209:38. Keith is averaging 30:10 a game, also a league high.

Is it hard to keep Keith off the ice-

''Yes,'' Quenneville said. ''We're down [Brian Campbell] on the back end, and he likes a lot of minutes. ... His minutes are a little higher than we like.

''You have to make sure he maintains his energy level between games. It's something you monitor. You'd like to have some days where he can take it off. We've only had one of those days. You have to try to win that game that's out there, and he gives us a good chance.''

Playing a ton of minutes is nothing new for Keith, who has led the Hawks in ice time since he arrived in 2005. Last season, no player played more than Keith, who also led Team Canada in ice time during the Olympics. Keith said earlier this year that he doesn't think his role has changed with Campbell out.

''He's a tough loss,'' he said. ''But that doesn't mean I have to change my game and try to do more. My game just stays the same.''More on Marian

Marian Hossa is the Hawks' leading scorer, but he wasn't selected by Quenneville as one of the first three shooters in Wednesday's shootout against the Canucks. He opted for Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane. All three converted.

''[Hossa] was coming up soon,'' Quenneville said. ''Not a bad call with either one [Kane or Hossa]. It's nice to have that luxury.''Slap shots

Toews left part of Wednesday's game after taking a deflected shot to his face during a Hawks power-play in the third period. The puck ended up on top of the net and Toews' lip was bloodied.

?Nick Boynton had another strong game, playing 27:38 and recording a team-high six blocks. He also led the Hawks in short-handed minutes with 2:27. TONIGHT: BLACKHAWKS AT BLUES

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