Jamal Mayers has shown scoring touch as well as veteran’s savvy
BY BEN MEYER-ABBOTT firstname.lastname@example.org February 4, 2012 11:28PM
Updated: March 6, 2012 8:23AM
CALGARY, Alberta — Jamal Mayers quietly is having one of his most productive seasons in the last several years.
Mayers, 37, has played in every game for the Blackhawks and has become a dependable mainstay as a gritty fourth-line center.
No Hawk has dropped the gloves more times (eight) than Mayers. But with goals against the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers, he pushed his haul to five for the season, one fewer than in his last two years combined.
“Anyone at this level at some point was used to scoring goals,” Mayers said. “Obviously, your roles change over the years and what you have to do to be [an NHL] player and sustain it over a career. But everybody likes to contribute.”
For the 14-year veteran, that includes seeking out rookies Andrew Shaw and Marcus Kruger and helping them acclimate to the league.
“You want to create an environment where they feel comfortable to be themselves and to be confident, because that’s when they’re going to have success,” Mayers said. “Those guys are great players, and if you can help them out here or there, that’s part of your responsibility.”
When Shaw lined up Tuesday against the Canucks, he saw a familiar face.
Shaw was paired with Kruger and center Dave Bolland on the Hawks’ checking line, which was assigned the task of containing the Canucks’ top line — including Henrik Sedin.
“Vancouver came to Belleville, Ontario, for Hockey Day in Canada and skated with my minor-league hockey team,” Shaw said. “I was partnered with him for the full day.”
Did Shaw mention that encounter to Sedin?
“I was going to, but I’m not really the friendliest guy on the ice,” Shaw said.
Patrick Kane hasn’t decided what he’s going to do with the outfit he wore while winning the breakaway challenge at the All-Star skills competition.
But the next time he pulls the glasses and Superman cape out of the closet, it won’t be to wear them.
“They’re back in Chicago,” Kane said this week. “I don’t know what I’m going to do with them yet, if I’ll donate them to charity or the [Blackhawks] convention or what. But probably give them away to someone.”