So this is the Andrew Shaw story: he plays two years of junior for the Niagara Ice Dogs of the OHL and isn’t drafted, largely because of his small size. He plays one more year for the Owen Sound Attack and gets noticed because he has a great playoff (17 points in 20 games), including seven in four games to lead all scorers at the 2011 Memorial Cup.
The Chicago Blackhawks grab him with the 119th pick of the 2011 entry draft and by the middle of his first pro season, is shuttling between the team’s AHL affiliate in Rockford and the NHL. After two years, he becomes a full-time member of the Blackhawks and on Wednesday night, soared into the limelight in two distinct ways.
First, Shaw scored the triple-overtime game-winner against the Boston Bruins to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup final. Then, in the exuberance of a post-game interview with NBC’s Pierre McGuire, he inadvertently dropped an F-bomb into the conversation. Oops.
“Slip of the tongue,” apologized Shaw, afterward.
Shaw is a sort of lesser-known Brad Marchand in this series, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound winger who spent most of the opener trying to bang his body into the 6-foot-9 Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara. He is fearless the way NHL pests need to be. These love-em-if-they’re-on-your-side sorts of players can sometimes be merely irritating. Then there are a few, such as Marchand, who can annoy and play a little, too. Shaw seems capable of falling into that latter category, players who tend to be invaluable at this time of year, when energy can often be in short supply.
“I take it as a compliment,” said Shaw, of the fact that he is constantly described as an irritant by the opposition. “It’s how my game has developed throughout my career. It’s what’s got me here and I’ve got to stick to it.”
Certainly, you can tell that Shaw is popular with his teammates in the way they mercilessly tease him at every opportunity. One reporter described Shaw as a handful on the ice and defenceman Brent Seabrook immediately interjected: “He’s a handful in the dressing room too.”
“Yeah, I sit next to him,” continued forward Patrick Kane. “There’s times where I almost got to tell him to shut up because he just asks questions and doesn’t stop talking when you’re next to him there in between periods.
“He’s a kid that I think he got passed over twice in two drafts. We picked him up in the fifth round. He came in the next year and played.
“It speaks to his character, how he can put all that behind him and come in and play in the NHL right away and really be a factor.
“He does a lot of good things for us, whether it’s hits, being an agitator, even scoring goals. He probably scores more goals off his shin pads than he does his sticks. I’m sure he’ll take them, and we will, any way we can get them.”
Only a handful of players were available for interviews Thursday on the first of two off-days before the series resumes here Saturday. Shaw wasn’t one of them, and neither was the Bruins’ Nathan Horton, who left the opener with an undisclosed upper-body injury, believed to be a shoulder issue.
Bruins’ coach Claude Julien listed Horton as day-to-day and provided no further update as to his status for the next game. If he can’t play, the Bruins will likely stick with the adjustments they made mid-game Wednesday, which involved moving Tyler Seguin back to his former line with Patrice Bergeron and Marchand; and bumping Jaromir Jagr over to the David Krejci-Milan Lucic line.
It would also mean a second one of their reserve forwards would be pressed into service – Jordan Caron, Carl Soderberg or Jay Pandolfo. Kaspars Daugavins is already in, replacing Gregory Campbell, out for the season with a broken leg.