Andrew Shaw has said it often, in one form or another: work hard and your dreams can become reality.
He’s Exhibit A of his own advice, really, the undersized kid who was passed over in two NHL Entry Drafts before the Chicago Blackhawks selected him in June of 2011. Two Junes later, he helped them to their second Stanley Cup in four seasons. On Tuesday, Shaw got the best “thank you” the organization could give him.
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Shaw was signed to a two-year extension, reportedly worth a $2 million-per-year cap hit, on Tuesday morning. Shaw, who’s in the last year of his entry-level deal, is now signed through 2015-16.
“It’s awesome,” Shaw said following the team’s off-ice workouts on Tuesday. “The family’s proud of me and they were excited when I told them the news.”
It was more validation for Shaw, who has found his niche as a some-time center, some-time wing and full-time pest.
“He’s one of those guys, I don’t want to use the word annoying, but to opponents he’s definitely that type of guy,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “But as a teammate he’s one of those guys who fits in well. He could be a disturber in the room in a good way. But that abrasiveness, relentlessness (on the ice) is much appreciated.”
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Indeed, as yappy as Shaw gets on the ice, he’s apparently as much in the locker room. Teammates talk about his inability to keep it zipped — “he talks a lot, yeah. He has to try to work on that a little bit off the ice,” defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. But considering Shaw’s scrappiness, grit and ability to get into opponents’ heads, the Blackhawks would rather have him with them than against them.
“He’s a good guy to have on your own team. He gets under the skin of the other team, plays a hard game and tries to do a little bit of everything out there,” Hjalmarsson said. “We have a lot of skilled players on our team, and Shawzy can make plays, too. He’s been a big factor for us.”
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Shaw has played bigger than his 5-foot-10, 180-pound self since he got to Chicago. Not afraid of fighting a guy a foot taller than him or taking all the whacks and smacks that come with being a net-front presence, Shaw has been a big piece of the Blackhawks’ success. The motivation was there for Shaw through those two draft snubs, and his persistence paid off — literally and figuratively.
“Just being passed over twice, it always pushed me to prove everyone wrong,” he said. “A lot said I was too small and not skilled enough to make the NHL. That drove me to prove them wrong. The opportunity that Chicago gave me, I wasn’t going to let it slide. I was going to give it everything I had.”
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Shaw has a lot to be happy about right now: a Cup victory, a big role on the Blackhawks and now a nice new contract extension. Shaw took his own advice regarding hard work and determination. The Blackhawks are happy he did.
“The puck follows him around anticipates well, he sees and makes plays very well, and adding scrappiness with offensive ability, it’s a nice compliment to his game,” Quenneville said. “He’s a hard working type of kid and he’s relentless. You can see it, and it can become contagious. He finds a way to get the job done and you appreciate it.”