CHICAGO -- Duncan Keith heard loud, sustained cheers that rained down from every corner of the United Center.
It was just like old times -- and much different, too.
Keith, 38, returned to his first NHL home Thursday night, playing his first game in Chicago since he was traded to the Edmonton Oilers in July.
Keith got a warm ovation when he was introduced with Edmonton's starting lineup, but the response hit another level after the Blackhawks showed a highlight video for their longtime defenseman during the first timeout in the first period.
The crowd of 19,688 responded with a long standing ovation, and Keith waved from Edmonton's bench. When the cheers continued, Keith hopped on to the ice and raised his stick in the air in appreciation.
"Just another old friend that I love to talk to about everything, including the game," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said after his team's 4-3 overtime win.
"A little bit strange to see a guy like him who was just a pillar of this team and a Hall of Famer and just the career that he had coming into the United Center playing for a different team."
Keith was not made available to the media after the game.
Keith developed into one of the NHL's top defensemen while spending 16 years in Chicago, winning the Norris Trophy twice and three Stanley Cup titles. He was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP when the Blackhawks took home the championship in 2015.
Keith asked the Blackhawks for a trade to Western Canada to be closer to his son, Colton, after they spent long stretches apart last season.
"It's been nice. I've been able to see him more frequently," Keith said Wednesday after practicing in Chicago. "The visits, even just being able to get back home for little breaks here and there, so definitely the more frequent time spent with him has been nice, and it's been just basically everything that I had hoped [for]."
Keith's return coincided with the Blackhawks paying tribute to Niklas Hjalmarsson, another key defenseman from the team's run of three championships in six seasons. Hjalmarsson was traded to Arizona in June 2017 and retired in July.
Hjalmarsson was saluted with a pregame highlight video, leading to another standing ovation from the crowd. He punctuated the occasion by dropping a ceremonial puck between Keith and Toews.
"We were kind of joking that we're going to fight each other for it and just see what happens, and I think he kind of gave up on it," a chuckling Toews said. "It was a fun little moment to take a draw with him and to do it for Hammer."
Keith, a Winnipeg, Manitoba, native, was selected by Chicago in the second round of the 2002 draft. He made his NHL debut in 2005 and had 105 goals and 520 assists in 1,192 regular-season games with the Blackhawks.
"He was a great teammate," Blackhawks forward Dylan Strome said. "You know, a big jokester. He likes to have fun, likes to keep it pretty light in the room, and then he's one of the most serious guys when it comes to the ice. He's a warrior, a guy that Edmonton's lucky to have."
The Oilers celebrated Keith's return to Chicago on Wednesday, forming a corridor with their sticks for Keith to walk under on his way to the visiting locker room.
"He's been unbelievable. He's a great leader, even stepping in just this year," Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto said. "He's a big role model for me. I've watched him, you know, growing up and see him win a few Cups here. That's pretty cool, and he's just a really good guy around the locker room."