After being forced out of action by a knee injury on May 2 in Game 1 against the Minnesota Wild, Andrew Shaw appears to be on the cusp of rejoining the Chicago Blackhawks‘ lineup for the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Kings.
Shaw practiced on the team’s fifth line with Jeremy Morin and Joakim Nordstrom on Tuesday, meeting the media afterwards for the first time in quite a while. The pesky forward was missed during his time on the shelf. Of Shaw’s absence, Patrick Sharp said, “We miss his energy and the way he is in the locker room. We miss making fun of him and we miss his smile.”
Early indications are that Shaw will make his return to the lineup in either Game 2 on Wednesday or Game 3 on Saturday. Joel Quenneville was noncommittal after practice on Tuesday, saying, “We’ll see on [Shaw’s return]. I thought he was okay today. We’re not sure yet on [Game 2].”
Whenever he does end up coming back, the Blackhawks will be getting a huge boost. Shaw is a smart defensive player who put up 20 goals from the third line this year, something accomplished by few (and sometimes zero) players in any given season. He also adds an ornery element to Chicago’s forward corps that is otherwise missing, which will certainly be useful against the much more physical Kings.
Chicago has not played well at all this postseason, yet it is just three wins away from the Stanley Cup Final. Shaw’s return makes a potential repeat all the more likely.