Shaw wants to get back to 3 G’s: grit, guts and goals
BY MARK POTASH Staff Reporter March 6, 2014 9:54PM
Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw (65) celebrates his goal with Brandon Bollig (52) during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday, March 6, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) ORG XMIT: CXA103
Updated: March 6, 2014 10:26PM
The Blackhawks are looking for offense. Andrew Shaw just wants to be Andrew Shaw again.
By his own admission, the gritty, gutty forward has been neither gritty nor gutty in recent games and is hoping a promotion to the No. 1 line with Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad snaps him out of it.
‘‘I’ve been pretty slow lately, so [maybe] I can figure it out here,’’ Shaw said. ‘‘It’s a big opportunity. I’ve just got to work and get back to my gritty self and go to the net and create room for those two guys.’’
In good times and bad, the 5-10, 180-pound Shaw’s contributions often are difficult to quantify. He had 14 goals and 26 points and was plus-9 in 61 games going into the game Thursday against the Blue Jackets. That he hadn’t scored in his previous 11 games isn’t alarming. But he was a minus-5 in his previous nine games.
‘‘I just have to be first on pucks and be physical and have that competitive edge where I win those one-on-one battles and get those loose pucks,’’ Shaw said. ‘‘The last two games, I haven’t had that. So I’ve got to get back to it.’’
Shaw, 22, played on the No. 1 line with Toews and Sharp in his NHL debut on Jan. 5, 2012, against the Flyers at Wells Fargo Arena.
‘‘The second shift, I had a fight [with Zac Rinaldo], so the gritty play was there,’’ Shaw said. ‘‘[Toews] also set me up for my first NHL goal.
‘‘Hopefully, we can find some chemistry and create a lot of offensive-zone time.’’
With Marian Hossa out for at least two weeks with an upper-body injury and the Hawks struggling to consistently score goals, coach Joel Quenneville jumbled his lines.
Patrick Sharp was dropped from the No. 1 line to the No. 2 line with Patrick Kane and Michal Handzus; Shaw was promoted from the No. 3 line to the No. 1 line with Toews and Saad.
‘‘I felt like it was time to do something different,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘Hopefully it will give us some offense. Our last three out of four [games], we haven’t had much production. Defensively, we’ve been playing well. But we’re looking for a little offense.’’
The Hawks came into the game leading the NHL in scoring with 215 goals (10 more than the runner-up Ducks). But they had scored two goals or fewer in four of their previous five games.
The case of the missing goalie equipment remains unsolved. Nobody knows what happened to Corey Crawford’s Stadium Series mask or his pads, which disappeared over the weekend at Soldier Field.
‘‘He’s moving on and looking forward to getting a new set,’’ Quenneville said.
Back to normal
Consecutive home games brought some welcome normalcy to the Hawks’ routine. They had not played consecutive games at the United Center since Jan. 17 and 19, when they beat the Ducks 4-2 and the Bruins 3-2. In between, they had a six-game road trip preceding the Olympic break, then played at Madison Square Garden and Soldier Field.
Niklas Hjalmarsson, who played on Sweden’s silver-medal-winning team at the Sochi Games, said that after playing the Soldier Field game on adrenaline, he felt ‘‘a little sluggish’’ Tuesday against the Avalanche.
‘‘[On Wednesday], I started feeling normal again,’’ Hjalmarsson said. ‘‘I got a good night’s sleep and started feeling good. But it’s been the same for most of the other guys, so I can’t really complain.’’