Blackhawks

Shaw playing aggressive but smart hockey

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Shaw playing aggressive but smart hockey

The championship belt the Blackhawks give to their player of the game sat in Andrew Shaws locker following Sunday nights 4-3 victory over San Jose.

It was another game, another goal, another great outing for the rookie forward, and the belt was as much a symbol for his performance as it was his teammates appreciating his moxie.

Winning the belt was one thing. Wearing it was trickier.

That would be nice, he said, but its too heavy.

Shaws only been with the Blackhawks for seven games but hes been impressive in just about all of them. His goal on Sunday, his fourth in his time here and third in as many games, was the game-winner.

The rookie was the Blackhawks fifth-round draft pick in the 2011 NHL entry draft. He expected to be a sixth-round selection, so moving up a round was a thrill. Shaw brought that energy and excitement into his first summer and fall training camps and it showed.

For his first NHL experience, Shaw has been aggressive and smart, a combination thats won him fans outside and in the locker room.

Hes doing a lot of the little things right. Hes finishing his checks and hes solid on pucks, Duncan Keith said. He goes to the net hard and hes scored three of his four goals just by going to the net and taking the puck to the net.

You first notice Shaws aggressive style but his hockey smarts are also evident. Hes fast and driven but its all with purpose; hes not reckless. And playing with Marian Hossa and Marcus Kruger on Sunday night, Shaw looked comfortable. His statistics against San Jose, in his nearly 17 minutes on ice, included a goal, five shots on goal, three hits and a 6-for-6 performance in the faceoff circle.

Ive always played a high-energy game, Shaw said. The pace is a little faster (in the NHL), but I feel comfortable playing that way. Playing with better players, its easier.

Coach Joel Quenneville said Shaw had a special game on Sunday.

Its pretty remarkable; youve got a guy like Shawsy who gives you some offense but his instincts in all aspects are high end, he said. Hes a real resilient kind of guy. He just keeps going. Hes got a quick stick, patience with the puck and good play recognition.

Shaws potential and the Blackhawks roster spaces got him here. Shaws play could very well keep him here, earning more playing time and possibly more belts.

Coming into the NHL, you dont expect four goals in seven games. Its just a bonus, Shaw said. Its given me a lot of satisfaction, a lot of confidence.

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

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AP

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.

Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.

Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:

After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:

Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident:

Cue Chelsea Dagger: Blackhawks blow out Capitals to snap eight-game losing streak

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USA TODAY

Cue Chelsea Dagger: Blackhawks blow out Capitals to snap eight-game losing streak

Win one game.

That was Joel Quenneville’s message during the Blackhawks’ eight-game losing streak, which finally came to an end on Saturday night.

How about a 7-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on home ice for a streak-breaker? Now that’s more like it.

Prior to Saturday, the Blackhawks hadn’t recorded a win in February — or a win at the United Center since Jan. 12. 

Though the Blackhawks will likely miss the playoffs for the first time since Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were rookies, a blowout win over the leaders of the Metropolitan Division Capitals had to have felt great.

"It’s a nice way to get over the hump," Toews said. "Sometimes you might just win a 2-1 game or just kind of grind it out, but it was nice for us to fill the net the way we did tonight."

Added Joel Quenneville, "Certainly feels 100 times better than coming in and trying to explain how we had a lead and were unable to sustain it. The complete 60 minutes, three periods the right way, more consistency in our game, way more pace than we’ve seen recently, composure with the puck, shooting around the net. It was fun but that’s one. Let’s see how we respond to this because there’s a lot of hockey left."

The Blackhawks are 25-26-8 with 58 points, and are 11 points out the final wild card spot, currently held by the Minnesota Wild.

Among the highlights:

— Seven different Blackhawks scored: Toews, Kane, Alex DeBrincat, Brandon Saad, Artem Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz, Ryan Hartman

— The Blackhawks are 74-6-4 in the regular season in which Kane and Toews both record a goal — and 41-0-0 in their last 41 games, according to NBC Sports Chicago stats guru Chris Kamka.

— Kane registered career assist No. 500, becoming the sixth Blackhawk with 500 or more. Kane is also the seventh U.S.-born player with 300-plus goals and 500-plus assists, joining Mike Modano, Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick, Pat LaFontaine, Joe Mullen and Phil Housley, according to Kamka.

"You think about the amount of great Americans that have played the game, how many players actually play hockey in the United States... Growing up all I wanted to do was play hockey," Kane said. "That means a lot, especially when you talk about American-born players."

— DeBrincat's 22nd goal of the season has him tied for the rookie-lead with Tampa Bay Lightning's Yanni Gourde. DeBrincat and Kane also lead the Blackhawks with 22 goals.