Shaw playing aggressive but smart hockey

Shaw playing aggressive but smart hockey
January 16, 2012, 8:43 pm
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The championship belt the Blackhawks give to their player of the game sat in Andrew Shaws locker following Sunday nights 4-3 victory over San Jose.

It was another game, another goal, another great outing for the rookie forward, and the belt was as much a symbol for his performance as it was his teammates appreciating his moxie.

Winning the belt was one thing. Wearing it was trickier.

That would be nice, he said, but its too heavy.

Shaws only been with the Blackhawks for seven games but hes been impressive in just about all of them. His goal on Sunday, his fourth in his time here and third in as many games, was the game-winner.

The rookie was the Blackhawks fifth-round draft pick in the 2011 NHL entry draft. He expected to be a sixth-round selection, so moving up a round was a thrill. Shaw brought that energy and excitement into his first summer and fall training camps and it showed.

For his first NHL experience, Shaw has been aggressive and smart, a combination thats won him fans outside and in the locker room.

Hes doing a lot of the little things right. Hes finishing his checks and hes solid on pucks, Duncan Keith said. He goes to the net hard and hes scored three of his four goals just by going to the net and taking the puck to the net.

You first notice Shaws aggressive style but his hockey smarts are also evident. Hes fast and driven but its all with purpose; hes not reckless. And playing with Marian Hossa and Marcus Kruger on Sunday night, Shaw looked comfortable. His statistics against San Jose, in his nearly 17 minutes on ice, included a goal, five shots on goal, three hits and a 6-for-6 performance in the faceoff circle.

Ive always played a high-energy game, Shaw said. The pace is a little faster (in the NHL), but I feel comfortable playing that way. Playing with better players, its easier.

Coach Joel Quenneville said Shaw had a special game on Sunday.

Its pretty remarkable; youve got a guy like Shawsy who gives you some offense but his instincts in all aspects are high end, he said. Hes a real resilient kind of guy. He just keeps going. Hes got a quick stick, patience with the puck and good play recognition.

Shaws potential and the Blackhawks roster spaces got him here. Shaws play could very well keep him here, earning more playing time and possibly more belts.

Coming into the NHL, you dont expect four goals in seven games. Its just a bonus, Shaw said. Its given me a lot of satisfaction, a lot of confidence.