Blackhawks' Shaw exceeding expectations

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Blackhawks' Shaw exceeding expectations

Dale DeGray isnt shocked that the Chicago Blackhawks like what Andrew Shaw brings. But even he is pleasantly surprised at how quickly Shaw has achieved success with them.

DeGray is the Owen Sound general manager, the man who tried trading for Shaw two years ago before getting him prior to last season. DeGray saw what Shaw could bring, and couldnt be happier to see what the forward is doing now with Chicago.

Ill be honest I thought he had good skills, DeGray said not long after Shaw was brought up to Chicago. But last year in Owen Sound, he exceeded in every facet. He had even better skills than I anticipated. Its the same thing youre seeing that I see on the highlights: hes a very good skater and hes tenacious after the puck.

Shaw gained early attention for that tenacity and for his points, as he scored four goals in as many games. But hes also been a smart player on the ice, and its earning him more responsibility special teams -- and ice time. Shaw has had the top time on ice among Blackhawks forwards against Nashville and Vancouver; and outside of an all-around bad team effort in Edmonton, Shaw has been solid on the teams checking line.

Playing a lot of minutes isnt that unusual for Shaw. He said he did the same in Rockford; he had extra responsibilities there, such as special teams, too. But this is the NHL, the big stage. It can be a little more daunting.

Obviously its more nerve-wracking, but Ive kind of adapted to it, Shaw said. Ive been here for a month now and I feel like Im more comfortable on the ice.

Shaws earned the chance to stick around for a while. His fellow Rockford teammates were sent down before and during the All-Star break. Shaw remained. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp were activated off injured reserve on Tuesday.

DeGray isnt surprised.

I know how much the kid wants it, DeGray said. Hell pay the price to get it done. Hes at the NHL level now and its right there for him. He doesnt want anyone to take it away from him, Im sure of that.

Shaw was first called up here because he had that same scrappy nature as the injured Daniel Carcillo. He remains here because hes played well in every respect and has earned it.

It feels great to show the hard work is finally playing off, Shaw said. For every kid out there who doesnt think theyre going to get anywhere, keep working at it. Good things come from it. I mean, look at me: I was drafted my third year eligible, fifth round. I never thought Id be playing in the NHL. But here I am, right?

Blackhawks recall Johansson, assign Schmaltz

Blackhawks recall Johansson, assign Schmaltz

The Blackhawks will be without their No. 1 goaltender for a few weeks, so the obvious backup call-up came on Sunday morning.

At the same time, the Blackhawks are going to give one of their forwards a little work in the minors.

The Blackhawks recalled goaltender Lars Johansson from the Rockford IceHogs on Sunday morning. They also assigned forward Nick Schmaltz to the IceHogs.

Johansson has a 6-7-1 mark with 2.63 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in 16 games. This comes one day after Corey Crawford had an appendectomy in Philadelphia prior to the Blackhawks’ 3-1 loss there. Crawford, according to the team, is expected to be out 2-3 weeks.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Schmaltz has a goal and three assists in 26 games with the Blackhawks this season. Schmaltz is one of several forwards who got a top-line opportunity this season and, much like most of the others, couldn’t stick there. He has struggled to find a consistent game.

The Blackhawks face the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night. Scott Darling is expected to get the start.

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks look to bounce back vs. Jets tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks look to bounce back vs. Jets tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Winnipeg Jets tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Seeking revenge.

In their first meeting of the season, the Jets ended the Blackhawks' 11-game point streak by shutting them out 4-0 in Winnipeg. The Blackhawks will look to get even tonight when the Jets come into their building, where the Blackhawks are 10-1-2. The Jets haven't been as successful away from home, carrying a 4-8-2 road record into the United Center.

2. Tired legs? Not so fast.

It will be a quick turnaround for the Blackhawks, who will play their second game in as many days traveling from Philadelphia to Chicago. But don't expect fatigue to play too much of a role. Well, maybe it will, but the Blackhawks have been close to perfect in the second of a back-to-back with a 4-0-1 record compared to 3-3-0 in the first game. It also helps that Saturday's game against the Flyers was at 12 p.m., giving the team some extra time to recover for a divisional matchup. The Jets, on the other hand, will being playing in their second game in as many nights as well, having played St. Louis last night which ended in a 3-2 overtime win for the Jets. 

3. Who's in, who's out on D?

Trevor van Riemsdyk returned to the lineup Saturday, and certainly showed some rust after missing more than six weeks with an upper-body injury. With it being the second of a back-to-back, the Blackhawks could look to rotate the blue line and reinsert Gustav Forsling, who was a healthy scratch for the first time, back into the equation and perhaps Michal Rozsival, too.

4. Patrik Laine.

The No. 2 overall pick in 2016 has scored four goals and an assist in his last three games, continuing his phenomenal rookie campagin. He's on pace to reach almost 40 goals, which is incredible for a rookie in an era where scoring gets harder and harder. He's tied with Sidney Crosby for the league lead with 16 goals, one of which came against Chicago in the first meeting. 

5. Capitalize on special teams.

The Jets haven't been particularly good on special teams lately. They're 3-for-26 on the power play in their last 10 games, which is an 11.5 percent success rate, and are 26-for-36 on the penalty kill (72.2 percent) in their last eight. Their power play percentage ranks 20th in the league at 15.2 and penalty kill ranks 25th at 79.0. They're trending in the wrong direction. The Blackhawks are still struggling to find a rhythm on the power play, so perhaps this is a good opportunity to break through.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

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