PHILADELPHIA Rookies are supposed to be jittery in their first few professional games, noticeable for all the wrong reasons.
Tell that to the Blackhawks three new guys.
Jimmy Hayes scored his second goal in as many games and Andrew Shaw scored his first NHL goal on his first NHL shot of his first NHL game in the Blackhawks 5-4 loss to Philadelphia on Thursday night. Those two, as well as fellow rookie defenseman Dylan Olsen, had solid outings and earned good reviews from their teammates and coaches.
I liked them, I liked them all, said coach Joel Quenneville in a game he otherwise called a brutal loss. They all did a good job.
Jonathan Toews was also impressed, especially with his linemate Shaw.
Andrew went right in there and made things happen right off the bat, he said. Its natural for anyone, even the skill players when they play that first game like that, to be out of synch or have timing issues a bit. But it seems like Andrew was doing the right things, chipping pucks in the right spots.
Shaw will have a few stories out of his first NHL game. The scrappy forward started on the Blackhawks top line, and made a nifty move and backhand to record his first career score. He also did what he does best, fighting Flyers center and old Ontario Hockey League nemesis Zac Rinaldo in the first period.
He challenged me there, I dont like saying no so I decided to square off with him, said Shaw, who brandished stitches in a cut above his left eye. I knew how hed fight; he just keeps throwing. He caught me with one off the start but I got him with a few as well.
Shaw said he was nervous coming onto the ice to start tonight, but once the puck dropped its just another game of hockey. Its nice to get the first one out of the way.
Olsen, called up on Wednesday with Steve Montador on injured reserve, played a little less than 10 minutes on Thursday night. He had three shots on goal and a blocked shot.
Hayes, meanwhile, got another goal when he redirected Jamal Mayers pass to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead in the first period. That fourth line was applying plenty of pressure on Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, and Hayes and Michael Frolik each had four shots on goal.
The Blackhawks have been giving a few of their Rockford players auditions. These three are the latest. Its hard to say how theyll do in their next game or so, or even how long theyll be here. But on Thursday, they were all noticeable for the right reasons.
Its great to see those young guys pushing, Toews said. The rest of us need to follow that.