There were more than a few Hawks fans having a a good hearty laugh when coming home from the game last night when they saw Andrew Shaw having yet another meltdown. This time it was in Anaheim, getting himself tossed late in a game the Habs trailed by one goal and could have, oh I don’t know, used a guy with a knack for getting goals from in close.
Of course, now it’s just an figure of fun for pretty much the entire hockey world, though I guaranteed on Hockey Night In Canada’s pregame show on Saturday that Kypreos and Hrudey will use this as an example of true passion and to indict Max Pacioretty as a leader or something (though maybe that’s not totally inaccurate but let’s get to that in a second).
Quite simply, this is what happens when you tell Andrew Shaw, who probably couldn’t spell “NHL,” he’s being rewarded for all the wrong things. What made Andrew Shaw a success here in Chicago weren’t all the yelling faces or the punching people after the whistle or the dirty hits. What made him successful is he never stopped moving his feet, was willing to go to the front of the net (though he really wasn’t all that skilled at it no matter what everyone around here will tell you) and he has better hands than a third liner usually does. It wasn’t Shaw’s attitude or yap that drew a lot of penalties. It was that he just never stopped and would cause turnovers or keep possessions going and eventually put a defender in a bad spot. There really weren’t a lot of retalitory penalties where Shaw wasn’t canceling out with his own roughing call.
However, when you tell him that it’s his passion and fire and yelling that got him four million dollars a year, this is what you get.
When you have a neanderthal behind the bench playing up to this, Shaw is going to play up to it, too. In his defense, he’s getting paid a lot of money in perhaps the most pressurized place to hockey in the world, and you wouldn’t begrudge him if he were feeling the need to prove himself in a hurry. He would hardly be the first free agent/acquisition to do so. And when you’ve told him that this is the best part about his game, as Therrien and the Montreal press have (completely missing the point) that’s what he’s going to accentuate.
I saw some saying this is what you get with Shaw when you don’t have a strong leadership group. That’s probably not to be dismissed. Therrien is a moron who clearly can’t rein him in and isn’t particularly interested. They’re already trying to drive Pacioretty out of town so I can’t possibly imagine what his motivation would be to step in when he probably would just like to leave this dumbass organization and psychotic fanbase behind. Why should he feel the need to protect the organization when they aren’t protecting him much?
What Shaw should be yelling about is that he’s been a pretty shitty player this year. Five goals and nine points in 23 games is about the offensive production you’d expect. His xGF% and his scoring chance percentage are both floating around 42%, and he can thank Carey Price for bailing his ass out like the rest of his team. These numbers are off a cliff compared to what he did here, though playing with better players probably helped in that cause. And just as we suspected, Ryan Hartman is doing everything Shaw did just for much cheaper. In fact, Hartman is completely dusting him in Corsi, xGF% and scoring-chance percentage. And Hartman is actually getting worse zone starts, spending the most amount of time with Kruger. Shaw gets to play with Patches most of the time.
Until the Canadiens or the NHL actually step in on Shaw, who clearly hasn’t learned much from not controlling his anger properly from last year’s playoffs, we’re going to get this kind of bullshit every few weeks as he thinks he justifies his existence. Shaw isn’t the first skilled pest to lose the plot once he actually got paid and focus on the wrong things. Steve Ott did, and there was a time when Ott could really play.
But I’ll enjoy the laughs until then. Even though it keeps demonstrating how dinosaur era the sport insists on being.
-I see there’s a movement to get Bryan Bickell to the All-Star game. While the sentiment comes from a good place, I think it’s misplaced. Bickell shouldn’t be used as a second middle finger to the NHL as John Scott was last year, because he was an actual player once. Making him a charity case is in some ways demeaning, though that’s not the intent. Everyone would be better off simply taking the time to donate to causes to help fight MS, which is what I’m sure he would prefer.
Again, the sentiment is proper, but it’s pretty hard for a proud athlete to go somewhere because he got sick and people felt sorry for him. There are better ways to express support.