Wednesday, April 05, 2017


Andrew Shaw-With the Canadiens

By the time that the final bell rings at the end of this season, Andrew Shaw will have played almost 70 games for the Montreal Canadiens. Major changes took place prior to the season for the Canadiens, including the addition of Shaw from the Black Hawks. He was certainly a fan favourite for the Hawks, and he has endeared himself to the Habs fans in just one season.

Those of us from his home area know the reason. Many of the tired old cliches apply in this case, but none more appropriate than the one that says, simply, “He leaves it all on the ice.”

He is a heart and soul player. He is a tenacious checker. He is fearless. He plays a lot bigger than his size. (He is listed at 5' 11”, and 175 pounds. I suggest both of those statistics are slightly exaggerated.)

Andrew has played more than 400 games in the National Hockey League. He got his first taste of action in the league in the 2011-2012 season, also spending time with the Hawks AHL team in Rockford. He did the same the following season, and then never looked back. Despite his ferocious style, he rarely has missed a game.

As of the end of March, he has 11 goals and 17 assists for 28 points. His penalty minutes are up a little from his average. He has had to sit in the sin bin for 108 minutes, bringing his career total to over 400 minutes, almost a minute per game. The Lady Byng Trophy may be just out of his reach, at this point in his career.

Many of us knew Andrew as a rough and tumble kid, one of Doug and Darlene's lads who rarely went home for supper with clean clothes. They were a scrappy bunch, always dedicated to the task when it came to sports. No one could ave predicted that Andrew would have become a star in the NHL at that time. Then again, none of us is completely surprised.

A week ago, I caught up with Andrew following his final trip to Florida. The Habs defeated the Lightning in Tampa, 2-1, and had just knocked off the Panthers 4-1. Andrew scores the first goal for the Habs. While parked in front of the Panthers net, he just happened to be in a perfect location to bang in his 12th goal of the season,on a perfect play set up by Artturi Lehkonen, and Alex Galcheyuk, his linemates.

Near the end of the second period Andrew was involved in a quirky play. He put up his hand to block a shot into his zone. The puck deflected off his glove, into the crowd. He received a two minute, delay of game penalty.

I asked him about his opinion on the five come onto the ice to scrape the surface. “ I really appreciate those breaks,” he told me. “First of all, the ice here is not good at this time of year, because of the heat. (It was almost 30 degrees celsius during the day.) Secondly, I like the chance to rest a bit during those breaks.”

He told me he is delighted with the coaching change that too place not long ago. “Coach Julien is a players' coach. He also has good systems, and is very positive in his approach.”

Several gaffes in the third period led to good scoring chances for both teams. The puck slid off Panther defender Michael Matheson's stick at the Panther bluline, and Lehkonen made no mistake burying his 15th goal. He added his 16th when Paul Bryon's breakaway attempt banged off the end boards, onto his stick. He blasted it by Panthers' goalie Reto Berra, earning first star status. (James Reimer and Roberto Luongo are both injured at this time.)

Radulov fired a long empty net goal for his 18th this season. Hab fans broke into the “Ole, ole, ole business”, just to rub it in. Note: A few thousand empty seats, in case you happen to be in the area next year; however, I suspect the Cats will be in a better position at this time next year, barring nasty injuries.

Post game temperature? 75 degrees.

As he wandered back to the dressing room, for a post game workout, I hollered at Andrew, “See you in the summer!” He shouted back, “I'll let you touch the Cup!”

Hockey night in Florida. Like no other.

James Hurst
April 4, 2017

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