GLENDALE, Ariz. Andrew Shaw stood in the Blackhawks locker room, fielding the obvious questions after his hit on Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith on Saturday night. Whether hell have to answer for it from the NHL remains to be seen.
Shaw was assessed a five-minute charging and a game misconduct for his hit on Smith, who was down for several moments and then popped up and finished the game in the Blackhawks 4-3 overtime victory over Phoenix. Smith was prone for a few moments, as Shaw was sent to the penalty box and, soon after, to the locker room.
Then Smith got up and told trainers that he could finish the game. Afterward, Smith, through the Coyotes media relations department, said, I feel fine. Im 100 percent.
And then, of course, there was the inevitable he saidhe said on what happened.
I went back to play the puck and I didnt see him coming, Smith said via Coyotes PR. I dont have eyes in the back of my head.
Coach Joel Quenneville said, I think (Shaw) was trying to avoid contact. Its a tough call. He was playing well again, too.
Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said the league will look at that. Obviously thats contact at the head and it doesnt matter if its a goaltender or a player. Thats blind-side contact to the head.
Shaw said he didnt mean to do it.
He went to play the puck and his stick came up toward my face so I tried to get out of the way of it. Unfortunately I made contact. I didnt try to hit him but unfortunately I did, Shaw said. Im just glad hes OK and he could finish the game.
When Smith was down, it looked like he wouldnt be able to keep playing. Backup goaltender Jason LaBarbera came out onto the ice and stretched, seemingly in preparation to relieve Smith. Nevertheless, Shaws night was over.
I dont know if it came down to whether the officials thought Smith was going to stay in the game or not. Obviously they thought he was done and thats probably why he got the 5-minute penalty, Jonathan Toews said. From what I saw, Shaw wasnt going in there trying to take his head off. From what I saw, he was trying to avoid contact and that was unfortunate that it happened.
Whether or not Shaw hears from the league on the hit is unknown right now. The Blackhawks dont play again until Tuesday, so if there is anything it doesnt have to be decidedbe announced until Monday.
I dont know. Well see what happens, Shaw said. Its just unfortunate. Im just glad hes OK.