Andrew Shaw said its "tough" knowing hell sit out these next two games, part of the three-game suspension handed to him for his hit on Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith. But the Blackhawks rookie forward said he understands the focus put on player safety, especially goaltenders.
Shaw talked to the media on Wedesday afternoon for the first time since receiving his suspension on Tuesday afternoon. Shaw said he was "upset" to get three games, but "thats the punishment. You cant do anything about it.
"Its a tough call, and they dont want to make players miss opportunities given to them," Shaw said. "They talked it over, watched the tape, and thats what they came to as fair punishment."
Shaw hit helmet to mask on Smith behind the net in Game 2, when Smith was going to play the puck. Shaw got an immediate five-minute charging and a game misconduct. Smith stayed in and finished the game, and Brendan Shanahan acknowledged Smiths lack of injury in his video explanation of Shaws suspension.
But theres more of an onus put on protecting goaltenders, especially when theyre outside the crease.
Flash back to November when, on a breakaway, Bostons Milan Lucic ran over Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller, who came out to knock the puck away. Lucic received a two-minute charging penalty, but no finesuspension; Miller received a concussion.
A few days later, NHL general managers met with Brendan Shanahan. According to the Boston Globe, the GMs took a straw vote on that play and a majority said there shouldve been a five-minute major as well as a suspension, because they believed there was intent on Lucics part. Boston GM Peter Chiarelli told the Globe that the situation would be watched closer in the future. He also told the Globe that, if something similar happened in the future, Shanahan may suspend the perpetrator.
The Blackhawks argued that Shaw didnt have intent. The Coyotes argued he did. Shaw said he understands the need to protect goaltenders.
Theyre really important players. They looked at it, they reviewed it and they felt thats what the right punishment was, Shaw said. Concussions are a big thing these days, and Smith has had them before. Theyre just trying to look out for the goalies.
Smith was writhing on the ice not long after that hit. Asked if he thought Smith embellished, Shaw said, I cant really tell. Getting hit, as a goaltender, youre not expecting it. He was probably in some pain and that was just his reaction to it.
The Blackhawks are currently down 2-1 in this best-of-seven series with the Coyotes. They would need to get to Game 6 for Shaw to be eligible to play again. Shaw hopes they get their, for both their sakes.
I want another chance, he said. Every time we win the rooms full of excitement. I know we can take Game 4.