Fittingly, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook to hit milestones on same night

Duncan Keith is making history Saturday night. Fittingly, Brent Seabrook will too.

Keith will play in the 1,000th regular-season game of his career Saturday night when the Blackhawks face the Blues at the United Center. And when Seabrook hits the ice for the first time, he appear in his 1,009th game with the Hawks, passing Bob Murray for the most games played by a defenseman in team history.

They will also become the only active teammates to have skated in 1,000 games, and Saturday will be their 973rd contest playing in the same game. That total is the most played together by teammates in the regular season among active players, and the most all-time for defensemen.

Coach Joel Quenneville, who was behind the Hawks bench for most of those games and all three Stanley Cup championships, said the duo has “had some great accomplishments along the way collectively and individually.”

“They grew up a little bit right from the outset together and have been a big part of our organization, big part of the success,” Quenneville said.

Schmaltz vs. Schmaltz
Saturday night is the first regular-season matchup between Hawks center Nick Schmaltz and older brother Jordan Schmaltz, a defenseman for St. Louis. They have faced off in the preseason game and also in the AHL… and when they grew up together in Verona, Wisconsin.

“We had a little roller rink downstairs in our house growing up. It would be vs. my sister (Kylie Schmaltz) and my brother. Those were probably the best battles. Someone would usually come up crying or high-stick or puck to the face or something like that,” Nick Schmaltz said. “A lot of good memories. Looking back at it, it was awesome to have that and work on each other’s game and push each other to get better.”

While Nick Schmaltz has established himself as a key piece for the Hawks, Jordan is trying to lock down a consistent spot on the Blues’ blue line. Saturday is just Jordan’s 24th regular-season game of his career and second of the season.

This appearance clearly means something extra.

“I mean, this is what you dream about,” Jordan Schmaltz said. “This is why you sign up playing the game in the first place (is to) reach the highest level. And to play against your brother it makes it that much more special.”

Kane can relate
Brandon Saad is expected to start Saturday’s game on the fourth line, while rookie Alexandre Fortin will open with Schmaltz and Patrick Kane. Entering Saturday, Saad has only one assist in four games and was dropped down for Friday’s practice.

Kane looked for the positive of the move, saying Saad can add some balance to the lineup on the fourth line and just needs better luck to start scoring. And Kane also recalled that he played on the fourth line “a bunch of times too,” the last time being as a center during Game 6 of the 2012 playoffs against Arizona.

“But even before that when I wasn’t producing he’d throw me down there for like a game, and then when you start playing better he moves you up pretty quickly,” Kane said. “But, hey, maybe that’ll help our lineup and maybe it’ll help production across the board.”

Crow closer
Cam Ward, along with Keith and Saad, did not take part in the morning skate but were expected to play. With Ward absent, that gave Corey Crawford a chance for increased participation in the session.

“Looking forward to it,” Quenneville said of Crawford’s apparently impending return. “Yeah, I’m sure he is too.”

Crawford could return Thursday against the Coyotes, the Hawks’ next game.

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