Hawks’ Andrew Shaw faces tall order against Bruins’ Zdeno Chara
BY MARK LAZERUS email@example.com June 10, 2013 9:20PM
15.6% Power-play efficiency in the postseason for the Bruins, who went 0-for-13 against the Penguins. They’re 7-for-45 in 16 games.
94.8% Postseason-best penalty-kill efficiency for the Blackhawks, who have allowed three goals in 58 times short-handed.
6-4 Bruins’ edge in Stanley Cups over the Blackhawks. The teams rank fourth and sixth (tied), respectively, all-time. The Canadiens are first with 24.
Updated: June 10, 2013 11:00PM
Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara stands 6-9 — an even 7 feet on skates — and weighs 255 pounds. Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw is listed at 5-10 and 180 pounds.
So get ready for the bizarre sight of Chara and Shaw jockeying for position in the Bruins’ crease on Hawks power plays in the Stanley Cup Final.
‘‘Maybe he won’t see me if I’m standing in front of him,’’ Shaw said. ‘‘He might have a blind spot there. He’s a big boy, and I look forward to battling with him.’’
Of course, it’s nothing new for Shaw, who’s always fighting against taller, heavier guys, especially when he’s the Hawks’ front-of-the-net presence on power plays. And back in April, Shaw went toe-to-toe (but certainly not nose-to-nose) with the Nashville Predators’ 6-7, 240-pound Hal Gill, sniffing around for a fight after a whistle.
Chara, one of the top defensemen in the league and the 2009 Norris Trophy winner, is even bigger.
‘‘Yeah, he’s a little faster than Hal Gill, too,’’ Shaw said. ‘‘He’s strong. He’s powerful. He’s got a good stick, and we’ve just got to try and expose him. He plays a lot of minutes, so we’ve got to get pucks behind him and get him working hard and tire him out. If he’s all over [Jonathan Toews] or [Patrick Kane], they’re both going to compete and push back.’’
Michael Frolik actually has faced Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask this season — in the Czech Republic during the lockout. Rask was 12-5 with a 2.11 goals-against average for Plzen.
‘‘He was unbelievable then, he’s unbelievable now,’’ said Frolik, who had 14 goals and 10 assists in 32 games with Chomutov Pirati. ‘‘We’ve got to make sure we put the puck in his feet and have good traffic. We know his skills are unbelievable.’’
Rask had a 0.44 GAA and a .985 save percentage in the Eastern Conference finals against the Pittsburgh Pegnuins, giving up two goals in four games. Of course, the Hawks had little trouble solving the last ‘‘unsolvable’’ goalie they faced — the Los Angeles Kings’ Jonathan Quick.
‘‘In the last round, we faced [a goalie] as good as any we’ve seen in the last few years of the playoffs,’’ coach Joel Quenneville said. ‘‘We did a good job of getting to the net. That’s what we’re going to have to do to be successful against [Rask]. We want to make sure it’s challenging for him to find the puck.’’
Never let go
Shaw was the first to embrace Kane as he slid on his knees across the ice to celebrate his double-overtime goal that beat the Kings on Saturday. The shot — immortalized Sunday on the back page of the Sun-Times — went viral online as fans speculated that Shaw gave Kane a celebratory kiss.
‘‘Actually, it looked more like the ‘Titanic’ scene where Jack was hanging on to [Rose] off the end of the Titanic,’’ Shaw said. ‘‘No, I was just screaming in his ear. You know, he probably deserved a kiss, but I didn’t give him one.’’