Blackhawks

Andrew Shaw: If anyone can pull that off, it should still be a goal

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Andrew Shaw: If anyone can pull that off, it should still be a goal

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Andrew Shaw wasn’t thinking about whether it would be legal or not, wasn’t thinking about any potential rules that could nullify his goal-scoring attempt.

He was in front of the net, it was late, the game was already in double overtime and he just wanted to end the damn thing.

“At that point, you just react to the moment,” Shaw said. “You try to get it in and get the game over.”

Shaw got it in, but the game wasn’t over. For as crafty as his head-butt goal was, it was also disallowed. It wasn’t funny at the time but Shaw did laugh about it later, after Marcus Kruger’s goal gave the Blackhawks a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in triple overtime. For Shaw, it was just a reaction: he was in front of Frederik Anderson during a Blackhawks power play and just knocked the puck off his head. A review, however, ruled it no goal.

[MORE: Blackhawks outlast Ducks in longest game in franchise history]

Rule 78.5 (i) states: “Apparent goals shall be disallowed when the puck has been directed, batted or thrown into the net by an attacking player other than with a stick.”

Shaw was part of a game a few years ago that featured another header: in 2011 Memorial Cup game between Mississauga and Owen Sound (Shaw’s team), Mississauga/former Ducks forward Devante Smith-Pelly’s header was disallowed.

While the Blackhawks celebrated Shaw’s “goal” immediately, coach Joel Quenneville had a bad feeling.

“I saw it live; I didn’t like our chances. I was hoping he might have hit it on the way in but wanted to make sure on the replay,” he said. “That was crazy. He probably got that from the soccer [some of the Blackhawks play] before the games and he doesn’t want to let it hit the ice. It was probably one of those instinct plays.”

Shaw said he still should’ve gotten credit, despite the rules.

“I understood,” he said. “But I still think if anyone can pull that off, it should still be a goal.”

[NBC SPORTS SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Apparently he wasn’t the only one.

I know it’s in the rule book but that’s a pretty athletic play and a pretty entertaining play as well,” Patrick Sharp said. “It was a nice play by Shawzie. We thought maybe that was it, but you just regroup. It’s much like the series: you take the next game, the next battle as it comes. You don’t get too high or too low, you just keep fighting.”

The Blackhawks did, and late in triple overtime Kruger scored a legal goal. What was a reactionary play ended up being a disallowed goal for Shaw. Still, it was worth a shot, and it could always lead to a second career.

“Who knows,” Shaw said. “Maybe the Premier League’s going to be scouting me next year.”

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

Over the last 10 years, the words “ordinary” and "OK" have taken on a new meaning to Blackhawks players and fans alike. 

That’s “Coach Q” speak. 

A language where “ordinary” means awful and “just OK” means you were a non-factor. The good news is the last 10 seasons under Joel Quenneville have been anything but ordinary at the United Center. 

On Oct. 16th, 2008, the Blackhawks let go of fan-favorite Denis Savard after a 1-2-1 start to the season and named Quenneville as head coach in his place. Quenneville coached the Colorado Avalanche the previous season, but after another disappointing exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the two mutually parted ways. He had originally planned to stay away from the bench for at least a season, but the Blackhawks triumvirate of Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough and then-GM Dale Tallon brought Quenneville on as a scout and then handed him the keys to the car shortly after.

“Dale’s obligation is to put together a winning team,” said McDonough at Quenneville’s introductory press conference. “At this point, Joel is the coach of that team.”

It was an emotional day at the Blackhawks offices. Savard – a Blackhawks legend on the ice and a coach the players held in high regard – was let go just as things started to turn upwards for the organization. The end of the 2007-2008 season saw the Blackhawks once again miss out on the playoffs, but the fans began to flock to the United Center once more, and the hype train around the young team built around Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane was gaining steam.

“Moving forward, if we want to be a championship-caliber organization, we have to make tough decisions,” said Tallon. “This was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make.” 

Savard was 65-66-16 in parts of three seasons as head coach of the Blackhawks. Meanwhile, Quenneville had compiled eight 95+ point seasons behind the bench for the Blues and Avalanche in his 11 years as a head coach.

“We felt the experience and the track record of Joel would be a balance that we needed with a young, inexperienced team,” said Tallon. "Joel brings us a wealth of experience and a winning track record that will have an immediate and lasting impact."

The gamble paid off for the Blackhawks in a major way. Once Quenneville took over, the team got to the sought-after next level. 

They finished the 08-09 season with 104 points, third-most in the NHL’s Western Conference, had a franchise-record setting 9-game win streak in the month of December and returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2001-2002 season. The “young and inexperienced” Blackhawks took the league by storm, dropping the Calgary Flames in the first round of the playoffs in six games before taking down the rival Canucks in the next round.

They ultimately lost out to the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Finals, but the bar was now set for the organization. From then on, the Blackhawks were Stanley Cup contenders. 

Quenneville currently ranks 2nd in franchise history with 449 wins, trailing only Billy Reay’s 516. 

But most importantly, Quenneville’s 76 playoff wins rank at the top in the organization’s long and storied history, and those three Stanley Cups that he’s raised over his head were anything but “ordinary.”  

Anton Forsberg on uncertain future with Blackhawks as Corey Crawford nears return

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USA TODAY

Anton Forsberg on uncertain future with Blackhawks as Corey Crawford nears return

The Blackhawks are preparing for Corey Crawford to make his season debut this week after recovering from a concussion since Dec. 23, 2017, when he last made his appearance between the pipes.

That means a decision has to be made on Anton Forsberg, who's serving as the backup to Cam Ward but ranks third on the organizational depth chart in goal with a healthy Crawford. The challenging part of the situation is that Forsberg requires waivers if the Blackhawks want to try sending him down to the American Hockey League and keep him within the organization. But it's beyond his control.

"I have no idea and I don't want to think that way either,” Forsberg told NBC Sports Chicago. “I just want to be focused on getting better every day and try to work hard and put in the work, so hopefully when [my chance] comes, I've done everything I can.”

There are several layers to this, mostly questions: Can the Blackhawks find a trade partner for Forsberg? Would he clear waivers if he's put on there? And if he does, what happens to Collin Delia and Kevin Lankinen, both of whom the Blackhawks are looking to take next steps in their development?

One thing is for certain: The Blackhawks do not plan on carrying three goaltenders. But maybe that’s an option for the short term until they see how Crawford handles the load since they have a six games in nine days stretch starting on Thursday.

“Organizationally, he’s one of our group of goaltenders,” coach Joel Quenneville said of Forsberg. “That’s where it’s at. We know the importance of depth in that area is always going to get challenged over the course of a season and we know the importance of the position. We’ll see how that plays out.”

In any profession, it's hard not to think about your future when there's uncertainty regarding your position. But Forsberg is trying to block all that out, no matter how difficult it may be.

"Sometimes it is, but at the same time it's the life of hockey,” he said. “Everybody has been, at some point, in their career probably in that situation. At the end of the day, it's always about yourself and how you can get better and all that. So that's what I'm trying to do.

"I try to come in here every day with a smile on my face. Hockey is the best thing in the world, so I just try to come in here and have fun and do my job. That's it."

If Crawford is ready to return on Thursday, that probably means Forsberg will be placed on waivers Wednesday. If he does get claimed, Forsberg must be on the NHL roster for at least 10 games and/or 30 days before being eligible to go through the waiver process again. So he cannot be stashed in the minors if claimed by another team.

That means his fate really depends on whether an NHL team is in need of an everyday backup goaltender.

"I really have no idea,” Forsberg said of whether or not he believes he would get through waivers. “It all depends on the situations and other teams, where other teams like me, I don't know. I don't want to focus on it. I just want to do my best right now to be prepared for whatever happens."