Preps Talk

Shaw suspended three games for hit


Shaw suspended three games for hit

It took quite a while for Brendan Shanahan to make his ruling on Andrew Shaws hit on Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith. When he did, it was noticeable.

Shaw was suspended three games for his hit on Smith in Game 2 of the Blackhawks first-round series with the Coyotes. It seemed a harsh ruling, when compared with some of the others that have come down recently. It also took long enough to come; the ruling was announced around 2 p.m. Central time, just six hours before the Blackhawks and Coyotes dropped the puck for Game 3 at the United Center.

Shaw will miss tonights game, as well as Games 4 and 5. Michael Frolik is his likely replacement. Smith finished Game 2 but did not practice Monday. While Smith participated in morning skate on Tuesday, coach Dave Tippett said the goaltender was a game-time decision.

In his video explanation of the ruling, Shanahan said that a goalkeeper is not fair game, just because hes outside the crease area.

However, incidental contact will be permitted when the goalkeeper is in the act of playing the puck outside his goal crease, provided the attacking player has made reasonable effort to avoid such contact, said Shanahan. Shaw does not make a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.

Whats more, this is not a skater and goaltender colliding while pursuing a loose puck. Shaw skates a considerable distance and hits the head of stationary goaltender who has possession of the puck. There is no opposing player near Shaw, therefore the path he takes to Smith is entirely up to him, and the onus is on him to make every effort to avoid the goalie.

Shanahan said the NHL took into consideration the fact that Smith remained in the game and suffered no apparent injury. He also took into consideration that Shaw has no prior finessuspensions in his brief NHL career.

The Coyotes were not happy from the hit from the start, and never backed down from their opinions. That includes Tippett, who reiterated his thoughts on it this morning.

Its a blatant hit to the head, with no intent to miss the goalie, Tippett said. Ive gone through a lot of these meetings with the NHL. Thats the exact same hit theyre trying to take out of the game.

Now the Blackhawks will go on without Shaw, whose energy and aggressive play has been critical down the stretch.

Hes really come along since he came up the second time, Patrick Sharp said. Hell be in their face, quick to pucks and he goes to puck areas hard. Hes a key player for us.

Jamal Mayers echoed the same sentiment.

You lose a lot of energy, he said. Im sure the other team has to be aware where he is. Hes not afraid to go to those tough areas. Hes been chipping in, in a lot of areas for us.

See the complete explanation video below:

Stagg's Kyle Neputy leads through action during offseason

Stagg's Kyle Neputy leads through action during offseason

While many athletes talk about leadership and the importance of being a leader, others let their actions do the talking. One of them is Stagg senior quarterback Kyle Neputy (6-foot-4, 234 pounds).

Neputy, who is signed and will play this fall at Cornell, participated in last year's annual Franklin Middle School Charity Dodgeball tournament. The tournament had such a positive impact on Neputy and his fellow Charger teammates that they decided to rally together and support a worthwhile cause for a second straight year. 

I had a chance to catch up with the Kyle Neputy at the sixth annual Franklin Middle School Dodgeball Tournament in Wheaton. Proceeds from the event benefited the Northern Illinois Food Bank, Cammy Can, Jack’s Army and Franklin Middle School. 

Neputy shares why he and his Stagg teammates decided to support the event. He also had a chance to reflect on making the move to Cornell later this year.

Life was a lot different last time the Blackhawks missed the playoffs

Life was a lot different last time the Blackhawks missed the playoffs

For the first time in a decade, the Blackhawks officially will not be in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

With a 5-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche Tuesday night at the United Center, the Blackhawks will be sitting at home mid-April instead of looking to add to their trophy case.

Exactly 366 days before, the Blackhawks actually became the first NHL team to clinch a playoff berth, also the result of a game against the Avs:

The last time the Blackhawks missed the playoffs, Denis Savard was the coach and Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were just 19 years old in the midst of their rookie seasons.

The next year, Joel Quenneville took over as coach after four games and led the Blackhawks all the way to the Conference Finals.

Of course, the following year (2009-10 season) brought the first of three Stanley Cups.

For perspective on how incredible this stretch has been for the Blackhawks, here's how the other professional Chicago sports teams spent 2008:

—The Bears finished 9-7 in Matt Forte's rookie year (he's since retired) with Kyle Orton as the starting quarterback and Lovie Smith as head coach.

—The Cubs led the National League in runs scored en route to a 97-win regular season...before falling flat against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS. Lou Piniella was still the manager and Theo Epstein was still three years away from coming to Chicago.

—The Bulls found some incredible luck, pulling the No. 1 overall pick and selecting Chicago native Derrick Rose. He helped the Bulls to a 41-41 season as a rookie under coach Vinny Del Negro.

—The White Sox lost to Joe Maddon and the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS after winning the AL Central under manager Ozzie Guillen. Carlos Quentin enjoyed a breakout season (36 HR, 100 RBI) while Gavin Floyd won 17 games. 

The Blackhawks still have eight games left before the 2017-18 season ends April 7.