Shaw, Saad reflect on defining NHL moments

Shaw, Saad reflect on defining NHL moments
July 28, 2013, 11:30 am
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Nina Falcone

Andrew Shaw and Brandon Saad took the stage Sunday morning as the sixth annual Blackhawks Convention began to wind down in downtown Chicago.

The "Mutt" and "Man-Child" reflected on the team's championship season, as well as what this year was like for two players who are just beginning their NHL careers.

"It's been unbelievable. To win the Cup this early on and with this group of guys, I really couldn't have asked for more," Shaw said.

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In order to make the big leap to Chicago, Shaw and Saad had to display plenty of confidence and talent to show the Blackhawks they were where they belonged.

Shaw had been told more often than not that he would never make it to the NHL, but the 22-year-old never let that get to him. In fact, it only made him work harder. He said his defining moment came when he played in the OHL.

"When I got traded to the Niagara IceDogs, it was a turning point in my career," he said. "I had a fresh start and new coaches. We were supposed to be ranked last team in the league, and we had such a great group of guys we ended up winning the OHL and going to the Memorial Cup and putting up a big fight there. I kind of came out of my shell that year and starting putting the puck in the back of the net."

Saad played in just four games with the Blackhawks throughout the 2011-12 campaign, but that was all it took for the 20-year-old to gain the confidence he needed to make it in the NHL.

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"Last year, just getting a taste of it was the biggest thing for me I think," he said. "Getting that confidence and being around the guys who are here, you see how things are done and to be able to take that with me back to juniors, it helped out a lot."

A walk down memory lane

Shaw and Saad were not strangers as they entered the Blackhawks organization. Both had played against each other during their days in the OHL, and both -- in typical fashion -- enjoyed taking a few stabs at each other from back in the day.

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"To be honest, I didn't know who (Shaw) was in juniors," Saad joked. "(Shaw's) a tough player. He scores big goals -- even off his shinpads. When we played him, I was never really looking forward to those games because he's one of those guys, getting in people's faces. (He's) tough to play against."

Cup celebrations

Shaw spent his day with the Stanley Cup last week, celebrating with family and friends back in his hometown of Bellevue.

Now, Saad, a Pittsburgh native, will have his turn at the end of August and he has some colorful plans made for his days ahead: "I'll probably carry it around town, bragging to everyone."