Underdog mentality fuels growth of Blackhawks' Shaw

Underdog mentality fuels growth of Blackhawks' Shaw
July 26, 2013, 5:45 pm
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Nina Falcone

The scars were still visible on Andrew Shaw's face, but now, a month since the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, his scruffy beard and battle wounds were gone.

The 22-year-old returned to Chicago for the sixth annual Blackhawks Convention after spending the last couple weeks back home in Canada with his family. He's been one of the lucky few to already have his day with the Cup and he's celebrated with the people that got him to where he is today.

"It's awesome, it's a dream come true," he told CSNChicago.com. "I love to get back to family because they've done a lot for me. They've always supported me and even the community of Belleville, they've always supported me and I've always played in my hometown so it was great to give it back to them as well."

[From the Stanley Cup Final: Shaw up to the task in Game 1]

In his first full NHL season -- well, not counting the lockout -- Shaw's made a case for himself as a strong two-way, physical player.

At 5-foot-10, Shaw lists as the shortest player on the Blackhawks roster, yet he still recorded the most penalty minutes throughout the course of the postseason. He prides himself on his "blue collar mentality" and believes the values his family instilled in him from a young age translate positively out on the ice.

"My dad's got his own little construction business and my mom's worked hard," he said. "They've worked for everything we've got and it was great to give back to them."

The moral of the story: work hard and don't give up. That came in handy for Shaw, who was passed over in both the 2009 and 2010 NHL entry-level drafts. It wasn't until the fifth round in 2011 that Shaw was given his chance, and now his performance is showing other NHL teams just what they missed out on.

"I'm kind of that agitator, I always try to prove people wrong as much as I can," he said. "Getting picked in my third year of being eligible by Chicago, it was an unbelievable feeling to throw that jersey on for the first time."

Before the Blackhawks selected him, Shaw spent those two undrafted seasons in the OHL, making adjustments to his game and working closely with his coaches. He went on to be named the league's hardest working player of the year following the 2010-11 campaign, and that mentality hasn't slowed throughout his NHL career.

"I pushed myself. I push myself to the limit and I never give up," he said. "I work hard, every time I was on the ice I played every shift like it was my last. I just competed and did the best to my abilities every chance I got and every time I touched the ice, I was always working on something.

"I've got a lot to work on still, I'm not the best hockey player, I just have to keep working hard and every time I touch that ice I have to push myself as best I can."

[More: Quenneville earns three-year extension]

After all that hard work, Shaw will return home and get some rest for the first time since the 2013 season began.

"From here on out, just gonna relax and train," he said. "Gotta wind down. It was fun while it lasted but now I think it's time to relax and focus on next season."