Keith answered the phone, and his life boarded a roller coaster.
Keith’s wife Kelly-Rae was on the other end of the phone call and notified him she was going into labor with their first child. Keith jumped into action. He flew home to Chicago and got back in time to witness the birth of Colton Duncan Keith, a 7-pound, 7-ounce boy, at 11:15 a.m.
After spending some quality time with his wife and child, Keith departed again for the airport, flew back to Minnesota and arrived at Xcel Energy Center two hours prior to the 8:30 p.m. game. He suited up and played a team-high 23:57 in the Blackhawks’ 3-0 win over the Minnesota Wild.
Twenty-four hours had nearly passed since Keith had answered his phone, and he still had yet to sleep.
“I don’t know; it’s a just a whirlwind really,” Keith said. “It’s just crazy. I don’t know how to explain it. I’ll maybe try to find some sleep on the road. That’s a good thing about being on the road.
“It was exiting. Having my first baby, it’s one of those things you hear a lot about. Until you have one of your own, it’s tough to explain. It’s just a real cool feeling when you see the little guy.”
The Blackhawks would have understood if Keith had missed Tuesday’s game, but it didn’t cross his mind. It also helped how everything played out time-wise on Tuesday.
“I guess you kind of deal with that when it comes up,” Keith said. “My wife, she had the baby around 11 o’clock this morning. She was in labor for pretty much the whole night. It was just a matter of knowing I could get here still, so why not try and get here, play the game and I can get back there tonight again.”
Keith admitted his energy wasn’t where it normally would be for a game. He gave what he could, though.
“I think the adrenaline helped out, but I’m not going to sit here and say I felt great,” Keith said. “But definitely just the whole excitement of having a baby gets you through that for sure.”
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville could only imagine what Keith was feeling after his incredible day.
“I’m sure he’s on a different high,” Quenneville said. “It’s a thrill of a lifetime for him in a lot of ways. I think this helps makes it even more memorable for him and his family. Certainly he was outstanding out there tonight.”