Blackhawks’ Honey Badger, Andrew Shaw’s Impact in Chicago

The Chicago Blackhawks desperately needed some grit and toughness on the team again. They needed someone who’s game is based around going into those tough areas on the ice and being fearless. They really needed their very own honey badger –– thus the return of Andrew Shaw.

Andrew Shaw, Chicago Blackhawks, NHL
Andrew Shaw (#65) (Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports)

His return to the Blackhawks means more than just another good forward on the roster. He brings a hard-work ethic and a determination of will-to-win to the team, something that perhaps the Blackhawks were lacking the past couple of seasons. Shaw’s only racked up two points from two goals so far this season. Both goals came in Chicago’s home opener against the San Jose Sharks, but Shaw’s game is more than just scoring.

Related: Blackhawks Ready for Beefed Up & Better Andrew Shaw

The points will come, Shaw’s known for his “dirty-goals”, creating traffic and staying in front of the goalie. He keeps his stick on the ice at all times and whether it’s a tipped-in goal or a second chance pass for an assist, he goes to the net hard, determined to make something happen.

“He shows up everyday, he’s got that energy, and has a really positive effect on his teammates. He gets his nose dirty and plays the game hard. I think that adds a diferent demention to our team that we probably felt we were missing before.”

Chicago Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton

His return to the Blackhawks means more than just another good forward on the roster. He brings a hard-work ethic and a determination of will-to-win to the team, something that perhaps the Blackhawks were lacking the past couple of seasons. Most of Shaw’s goals come from second-chance opportunities or deflection goals, rarely does he make a highlight-reel goal, unless of coarse if you remember the infamous “head-butt” goal in the 2015 Playoffs.

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The Bad Side of Shaw

If there’s one downside of having a player play with such intensity, it is that Shaw can rack up the penalty minutes. He is known for his aggressive play and he’s no stranger to dropping the gloves. He also leads the team in penalties and currently ranks tied for fourth in the league with the most penalty minutes. The Blackhawks are two to three games behind the rest of the league in games played, meaning that Shaw’s penalty numbers are a little high. His side of the story is that his former reputation of being a bit of a “chirper” and “wild-boy” on the ice is what’s kept him as a bit of a target for the referees.

“The referees, no matter the history of the player, should call the game as it is. If there’s a penalty, call a penalty. If there’s not a penalty, you let it go. I mean, yeah, I might have been too vocal in my younger days. But the past three years I’ve been trying to clean it up a little bit. I just take my penalties when I get ’em. But I must have dug myself a really deep hole. Just trying to climb out of it since.”

Andrew Shaw

Still, Shaw’s “to the edge” style of play is part of what makes him special as a player and as a teammate. He’s aware that going to the box as often as he has doesn’t help the team at all but he also doesn’t have any intention of slowing down either.

“I find if I’m not playing on the edge, I’m not playing great, I need to play physical “

Andrew Shaw on his physical style of play.

Experienced Player

It almost seems as if Shaw never left Chicago. It was devastating to most Blackhawks fans to see him go to the Montreal Canadians at the end of the 2015-16 season. With Montreal, Shaw got a chance to play for another “Original Six” team, but he wasn’t quite as effective as he was when he was with Blackhawks. Maybe he just didn’t quite fit the mold there.

Chicago Blackhawks Andrew Shaw
Chicago Blackhawks right wing Andrew Shaw (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

However, we do know Shaw has gotten a second chance at getting to play with some of his old pals and teammates, which he won two Stanley Cup championships with. He’s the voice of the locker room and know’s what it means the be a Blackhawk as much as anybody.

He’s in his ninth season in the NHL and in that nine years, he’s seen it all. Shaw has been apart of championship teams, been on teams that have struggled, he’s had the league praise him, and he’s had the league come down on him for his sometimes unpredictable actions. He’s fought the toughest guys, winning some and losing some. Still, his will to achieve is contagious and has an attitude the Blackhawks needed badly.