ST. PAUL, Minn. – In his eight-year NHL career, Hawks defenseman Duncan Keith is a plus-103.
That’s nothing compared with Keith’s personal plus-one Tuesday.
Keith, 29, completed a whirlwind 24-hour span in which he flew home to Chicago to be with his wife for the birth of their first child, a boy, and then flew back to Minnesota to rejoin his teammates.
Although Keith missed the Hawks’ morning skate, he returned in time for the start of Game 4 of the Western Conference quarterfinals.
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville congratulated Keith’s family on their new addition. The baby boy, named Colton Duncan Keith, was born at 11:15 a.m. and weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces, according to the Hawks.
“That’s good news all the way around,” Quenneville said.
As a former player and a father of three, Quenneville is familiar with the challenges of balancing work and family in the NHL. He said his policy was simple regarding expectant fathers on his team.
“Family comes first in a situation like that,” said Quenneville, who has coached Keith since 2008. “We’d want him to be there before his child was born.
“In this situation, it’s an easy decision. We’re very happy that he was there in time. It all worked out.”
Say cheese: Hawks players were happy to look out on the ice and see feisty forward Daniel Carcillo, who made his series debut after sitting out the first three playoff games as a healthy scratch.
“He’s a good player,” Hawks forward Viktor Stalberg said. “We know that he’s a little rat out there. He runs around and likes to talk a lot.”
Carcillo, 28, has yapped his way through seven seasons and four postseasons. As a member of the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010, he had six points (2 G, 4 A) and 34 penalty minutes in 17 playoff games.
A low-energy loss in Game 3 prompted Quenneville to insert Carcillo into the lineup.
“I think he’s one of those guys who brings energy to your team and enthusiasm,” Quenneville said.
Make coffee: The NHL announced an 8:30 p.m. start time Thursday for Game 5 between the Hawks and the Minnesota Wild at the United Center.
That marks the third later-than-normal start of the series for the teams, who also met at 8:30 p.m. for Games 2 and 4. Those who stay up for the game will be able to watch it on Comcast SportsNet and NBC Sports Network, while the radio broadcast will be on WGN-AM 720.
Hawks bits: Although Henrik Karlsson served as the Hawks’ backup goaltender again for Game 4, Quenneville said that Ray Emery was “close” to returning from a lower-body injury. Emery took part in the Hawks’ morning skate and showed no signs of injury. … To clear space for Carcillo, second-year forward Brandon Bollig was a healthy scratch for the Hawks.