Blackhawks’ Game 1 hero doesn’t go about his work quietly
Chicago Blackhawks’ forward Andrew Shaw celebrates after scoring the winning goal during the third overtime period of Game 1 of the NHL Stanley Cup final against the Boston Bruins Wednesday in Chicago. — Photo by The Associated Press
Claude Julien and the Boston Bruins knew all about Andrew Shaw, even if they didn’t necessarily have a game-plan to stop the Chicago Blackhawks forward.
“We know he’s an agitator,” said Julien, the Bruins coach. “We know he’s good at embellishing, too, at times. We know all that stuff. We’ve done our research.”
But no research could have helped the Bruins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final Wednesday, when the 21-year-old Shaw scored the game-winning goal in triple overtime off a double deflection. Shaw called it “luck,” as Michal Rozsival’s point shot went off Dave Bolland and Shaw to give the Hawks a 4-3 win.
It was exactly midnight local time when Shaw became the unlikely hero. Unlikely because his role is more agitator than scorer and because he spent most of Wednesday night trying to bother six-foot-nine Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara.
Shaw is generously listed at five foot 10.
“He’s a big boy,” Shaw said of Chara. “He’s strong. A good battle in front of the net with him there. I think I held my own.”
And then some. Shaw drew a high-sticking penalty on Chara in the second period and went toe-to-toe with Boston’s captain,one of the most imposing figures in the NHL.
Battling with Chara and again going to the dirty areas of the ice earned Shaw plenty of praise from teammates and coach Joel Quenneville.
“The bigger the stage, the bigger the challenge, he rises to the occasion,” Quenneville said. “He knows where the front of the net is. Doesn’t have to be pretty. He’s a warrior. He’s one of those guys that you appreciate he’s on your side, and he’s relentless.”
Being relentless wasn’t as valuable as good positioning on the game-winner. Off the leg and in.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be pretty at this point,” he said in a post-game interview on NBC.
As part of that interview, Shaw dropped an F-bomb while caught up in the excitement of having ended the fifth-longest game in the history of the Stanley Cup final.
“Slip of the tongue,” he said with a smile. “I couldn’t think at all, actually, could barely breathe.”
But even that doesn’t stop him from talking.
Patrick Kane sits next to Shaw in the Blackhawks’ locker room. Even he wants quiet every once in a while.
“There’s times where I almost got to tell him to shut up because he just asks questions and doesn’t stop talking when you’re next to him there in between periods,” Kane said Thursday. “He’s really excited to be here.”
Shaw was wearing a microphone for NBC Sports, and the ensuing celebration likely will live on among Blackhawks fans for many years to come. “Bolly, I love you,” Shaw yelled, and then: “I love shinpads.”
“He’s a handful in the dressing room, too,” defenceman Brent Seabrook said.
“Yeah, he’s a high-energy guy. He likes to have fun, get guys going, jumping around the room, bouncing around. Yeah, he’s pretty much the same as he is on the ice, just without skates on.”
Shaw has five goals and four assists in this year’s playoffs.
“He does a lot of good things for us, whether it’s hits, being an agitator, even scoring goals,” Kane said.
“He probably scores more goals off his shin pads than he does his sticks.
“I’m sure he’ll take them, and we will, any way we can get them.”