There was no time for reunions, no time to see and talk to former Blackhawks teammates for Andrew Shaw on Sunday.
That’s the way it goes on the second half of a back-to-back. Just assume Shaw greeted the Blackhawks in the warm, welcoming way he did to opponents when he wore the Chicago jersey.
Shaw, who was traded to the Montreal Canadiens in June, returned to the United Center for the first time since the Blackhawks faced the St. Louis Blues last spring. Shaw was subdued before the game but was his usual self by the start of it, energetic and agitating. He received a loud, and standing, ovation from the crowd when the Blackhawks played a video montage for him in the first period. Shaw responded with a few waves and a sheepish grin.
“Obviously those are memories you’re not going to forget and don’t want to forget,” Shaw said prior to the game. “You just have to use them to inspire you to do it somewhere else as well, create the chemistry through the team and go out there and play hard.”
Shaw is currently playing on the Canadiens’ third line with another former Blackhawks forward, Phillip Danault. The Canadiens entered Sunday’s game in first place in the Atlantic Division by a wide margin – they have 27 points, and second-place Ottawa has 18. As much as part of Shaw’s night will be thinking about his time in Chicago, most of his thoughts are focused on Montreal’s excellent start.
“We have a great group of guys here and I think we’re capable of [success],” Shaw said. “We have, arguably, one of the best goalies in the NHL [Carey Price], a great defensive core and four lines that can play hockey. We have a great team and we’re going to keep building on what we have going here.”
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There was no big, friendly reunion with Shaw and his former Blackhawks teammates. Maybe that off-ice get-together happens when the Blackhawks go to Montreal later this year. Even though the Blackhawks didn’t really get to talk to Shaw, chances are they heard him throughout this game.
“I’ll go out there and play my game. That obviously involves trying to get under the skin of your opponents,” Shaw said with a grin. “I have a lot of good memories here. I made a lot of friends, made this place my home. It’s obviously tough to leave but with new opportunity comes new success. [I’ll] go out there, compete and have fun and bring what made me successful here to Montreal.”