The legend of Andrew Shaw grows. Until further notice, he shall be known as “Mr. January” in these parts. And these parts is where he intends on staying.
“We don’t want to get sent down again,” said Shaw, with all due respect to the Rockford IceHogs, whence he and Jimmy Hayes came to fortify the parent club. They were at it again Wednesday night in the Blackhawks’ 6-2 rout of the Buffalo Sabres at the United Center. Hayes had a goal and an assist, but he arrived in Chicago with more of a pedigree.
Shaw has been a more pleasant surprise than the mild winter weather. He collected his fifth goal since being signed and recalled upon Daniel Carcillo’s absence, had an assist on Jonathan Toews’ power play score, probably would have buried the puck on that sequence had the captain not beaten him to it, and almost choreographed another dazzling arrangement late in the second period. Shaw gloved a puck beside goalie Jhonas Enroth, dropped it, swatted it and teed it up for Marcus Kruger. He converted, but officials ruled Shaw guilty of a hand pass. Even they can’t believe what they’re seeing of this kid.
“They blew the play dead right there,” said Shaw. “And it can’t be reviewed. That’s the way it goes.”
When the Blackhawks brought him up a couple weeks ago, Shaw was supposed to supply sandpaper. In 20 minutes of perpetual motion again Wednesday night, Shaw exhibited more than an edgy attitude. He’s got ESP. Not ESPN, ESP: Extra Sensory Perception. The kid has a sixth sense where to go, and he strives to get there.
He was named the hardest working player in the Ontario Hockey League last season, and voted most competitive and toughest to play against by Blackhawks hockey operations personnel in the latest edition of Blackhawks Magazine, and no wonder. Shaw didn’t wait three rounds to get drafted. He waited three years.
Not until the spring of 2011 was he selected by the Blackhawks as 139th overall. He got passed over so often, he had to feel like a manhole cover. Perhaps that contributes to Shaw’s motivation. He’s got a chip on either shoulder, and a good head between.
“This is where you want to be, the NHL,” said Shaw, who has fit in quite nicely, as has Hayes.
That is a significant message about the Blackhawks’ diaper dandies: They are not only talented, they are ready. When Ted Dent was elevated to Rockford’s head coach last summer, he stated one of his objectives would be to prepare players to play “the Blackhawks’ way.” Installing a system and abiding by it should be a priority for organizations that depend on developmental teams. Apparently, something right is happening in Rockford.
“They teach us down there to be ready for up here,” said Shaw, who is wildly popular, perhaps because he’s perceived as an underdog. In the National Football League, the last player drafted every year is referred to as “Mr. Irrelevant” for obvious reasons.
Andrew Shaw might have been an afterthought, but now he shall be referred to as “Mr. January.”