Andrew Desjardins had to adapt quickly to his Blackhawks surroundings last spring. He did so with flying colors, playing a key part of the team’s third Stanley Cup in the past six seasons.
As this season begins, he has another adjustment to make: trying to tune out Andrew Shaw, whose stall is now next to his at Johnny’s IceHouse West.
“We talked about that,” Desjardins said. “We may each have to get earplugs.”
From his friendships and verbal in-jest jousting with teammates to his play that helped him claim his first Cup last June, Desjardins has found his place with the Blackhawks. A trade-deadline acquisition that met with little mention or fanfare, Desjardins carved a niche on the fourth line where he developed great chemistry with Shaw and Marcus Kruger and signed a two-year deal to return to the Blackhawks in July.
Despite being one of the Blackhawks since last spring – he said he really started to feel comfortable when the first round began – Desjardins said it’s beneficial being with them from the start this season.
“It was good to go through the whole process of Notre Dame, being with the guys throughout camp," Desjardins said. "I think that can go a long way, [having] that little bit of bonding at the beginning and not just jumping in and the final push and everything’s go, go, go. So it was good to get there. It was good to get back with the guys. Not too much has changed; guys are kind of back to the norm.”
And despite coming off the shortest summer of his NHL career, Desjardins is more than ready for this season.
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“It was good, though. It’s amazing how you get back into it pretty quick with the short summer. It doesn’t seem like it takes as much,” he said. “You’re still working hard but you jump back into it pretty quick.”
The Blackhawks had plenty of roster changes this summer and lines will look different. If the Blackhawks want some familiarity to start, they could certainly put Shaw, Desjardins and Kruger back together. Who knows if that happens, but with uncertainty on combos and chemistry with other lines, there’s no doubt on this one.
No matter the line combination, which may or may not include his talkative Johnny’s IceHouse locker-room neighbor, Desjardins is ready to build off a very successful half season here.
“Whatever way it goes, I think we have to concentrate on our role. If we do we’ll be successful no matter who we play with,” Desjardins said. “[Line combos are] up to Q and that’s how we have to approach it. It’s great to be familiar with guys but we’re just trying to do the best we can to fill that role.”