Andrew Shaw won’t be mistaken for the best forward on this Chicago Blackhawks squad, or even mentioned in the same breathe as far as some of the other forwards on this roster as far as his skill level is concerned. And he’s certainly not their “only hope” for a title. But he has a place on this team, and has been an important piece throughout the season.
That importance was on display in Game 1 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals against the Boston Bruins. Despite his lack of size, as he stands just 5’10″ and about 180, there is not an opponent that Shaw won’t back down from. That’s really what makes him so impressive to watch for the Hawks.
Now, Shaw has the tendency to be more frustrating than almost any other player on the current Chicago roster. He has a penchant for poorly timed penalties and can play over the edge at times. When his game is under control, though, he’s an extremely effective player for the Blackhawks.
On a roster that isn’t necessarily loaded with physical players, Shaw is a player willing to use the body in order to help his team gain the advantage. He’ll play down in the corners, he’ll play down around the net, he’ll throw big hits, he’ll get in the face of Zdeno Chara, he’ll literally do it all.
We saw it in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Shaw’s ability to hang down around the crease allowed him to tip in a goal off of a Dave Bolland tip of a Michal Rozisval shot, giving Chicago the win in triple overtime. He finished the game tied for the team lead in hits, with nine on the night.
Perhaps what was most impressive was the way in which Shaw dealt with Zdeno Chara. Clearly not phased by the fact that the Boston captain is 6 foot, 9 inches tall, Shaw did not back down once from a matchup with the Norris-winning defenseman. Even after the whistle, he was willing to get in Chara’s face. Or at least as close to it as he could get without a ladder.
As frustrating as he can be at times, Andrew Shaw is a fun player to watch. Provided that he plays under control. If he can continue to be the effective version of himself, rather than the over-the-edge version, raking up the penalty minutes, it’ll go a long way towards helping the Hawks match the style of the Bruins in these Cup Finals.