Andrew Shaw is back in Chicago, but things are different from the last time he was here.
His teammates have changed, the practice facility is new and the state of the team recently went through a retooling period. Perhaps most notably, the entire coaching staff has been overhauled and is now led by 34-year-old Jeremy Colliton.
It’s a different system than Joel Quenneville’s and Shaw is trying to get caught up to speed as quickly as possible.
"Watching a lot of tape," Shaw said. "Want to make sure come season time there's no thinking, it's just doing. Just repetition is going to get over that and watching video and really focusing on every drill and every video session as well."
What Shaw’s role will be with the Blackhawks this season remains to be seen, but the early answer is: it could be anything and everything.
Last season in Montreal he had his best offensive output playing on the wing — right to be exact. But in the first three days of training camp, including the team scrimmage game on Sunday at the United Center, Shaw was centering a line with Patrick Kane.
Colliton is simply experimenting with the idea to see what kind of options he may have during the season, not necessarily how he wants to start on Opening Night.
"It's an option," Colliton said. "We just wanted to try it. He'll probably play wing, too. You'll see him in exhibition, we'll move him around. There's a bunch of guys who we're just looking to see if we can find some chemistry and where they're comfortable and where they can help us and maybe multiple positions, multiple roles, where guys can be valuable. I think that's important as a coaching staff, we want to find that out as early as we can."
Shaw is a player who can and probably will play on all four lines this season. He’s also someone who can play any of the three forwards positions. That’s what makes him a valuable cog in the system because he can be moved around basically anywhere.
"I think that’s part of what we try to build is to have, whether he’s top six or could be on the fourth line, he’s still going to contribute," Colliton said. "We want to have that sort of personality through our lineup. We have a bunch of guys who can move up and down. That’s probably, obviously the lines [Jonathan] Toews and [Patrick] Kane are on, they’re going to be dangerous and are always going to be thought of as Top 6, but we want to keep teams honest no matter who’s on the ice."
Asked what role he expects to play this season, all Shaw would say is he plans on playing the same way no matter where he's placed in the lineup on a nightly basis.
"Same thing," Shaw said. "Go to the net, go to the dirty areas, get pucks, skate hard, play physical. Same thing. Same thing I've been doing no matter where I play. It's what makes me successful, it's what I'm good at, it's what's going to keep me in the league."
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