Blackhawks

Shaw playing aggressive but smart hockey

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Shaw playing aggressive but smart hockey

The championship belt the Blackhawks give to their player of the game sat in Andrew Shaws locker following Sunday nights 4-3 victory over San Jose.

It was another game, another goal, another great outing for the rookie forward, and the belt was as much a symbol for his performance as it was his teammates appreciating his moxie.

Winning the belt was one thing. Wearing it was trickier.

That would be nice, he said, but its too heavy.

Shaws only been with the Blackhawks for seven games but hes been impressive in just about all of them. His goal on Sunday, his fourth in his time here and third in as many games, was the game-winner.

The rookie was the Blackhawks fifth-round draft pick in the 2011 NHL entry draft. He expected to be a sixth-round selection, so moving up a round was a thrill. Shaw brought that energy and excitement into his first summer and fall training camps and it showed.

For his first NHL experience, Shaw has been aggressive and smart, a combination thats won him fans outside and in the locker room.

Hes doing a lot of the little things right. Hes finishing his checks and hes solid on pucks, Duncan Keith said. He goes to the net hard and hes scored three of his four goals just by going to the net and taking the puck to the net.

You first notice Shaws aggressive style but his hockey smarts are also evident. Hes fast and driven but its all with purpose; hes not reckless. And playing with Marian Hossa and Marcus Kruger on Sunday night, Shaw looked comfortable. His statistics against San Jose, in his nearly 17 minutes on ice, included a goal, five shots on goal, three hits and a 6-for-6 performance in the faceoff circle.

Ive always played a high-energy game, Shaw said. The pace is a little faster (in the NHL), but I feel comfortable playing that way. Playing with better players, its easier.

Coach Joel Quenneville said Shaw had a special game on Sunday.

Its pretty remarkable; youve got a guy like Shawsy who gives you some offense but his instincts in all aspects are high end, he said. Hes a real resilient kind of guy. He just keeps going. Hes got a quick stick, patience with the puck and good play recognition.

Shaws potential and the Blackhawks roster spaces got him here. Shaws play could very well keep him here, earning more playing time and possibly more belts.

Coming into the NHL, you dont expect four goals in seven games. Its just a bonus, Shaw said. Its given me a lot of satisfaction, a lot of confidence.

Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Charlie Roumeliotis and Slavko Bekovic provide their thoughts on the Blackhawks’ 3-0-2 start.

They also discuss Brandon Saad’s demotion and whether it could serve as a wake-up call, Corey Crawford’s potential return on Thursday vs. Arizona and what could happen with Anton Forsberg because of it, and address the power play concerns.

The guys wrap up the podcast by making a few bold predictions going forward.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below, and be sure to subscribe, rate us and write a review!

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.”