by Scott King
It’s been three seasons since the Blackhawks traded away a player Joel Quenneville deemed “irreplaceable.”
The struggling Hawks, who have lost seven straight games and sit in last place in the NHL, have proven the former coach right in not being able to put a player on the ice as feisty and determined as Shaw.
Chicago hasn’t had anyone who can get under the opponent’s skin and add some offense in the process as much as the current Montreal Canadiens winger. The Belleville, Ontario native had 56 goals and 67 assists with the Blackhawks from 2011-2016.
Despite the struggles the Hawks have had this season, Shaw says he still misses the city and the team.
“Yeah, obviously I do,” he said following a 3-2 Canadiens victory over the Blackhawks at the United Center on Sunday.
Despite a change of scenery professionally, Shaw has a baby girl named Andy with is wife Chaunette, who will turn six months old on December 18.
“I was 20 when I moved here alone, no money, no car, nothing and had a lot of success a lot of fun, a lot of good memories… So obviously I’m going to miss it here, but I got a great group of guys [with Montreal].
“We have a lot of fun, we all love each other, it’s great. We’re playing in a great city, a great hockey market. I miss it, but it’s fun [in Montreal].” Shaw has 30 goals and 36 assists since joining the Canadiens in 2016.
Even though the 2011 fifth round pick hasn’t been in Chicago during this season’s rough patch, Shaw can identify with the struggle.
“We know what it feels like,” Shaw said of the Canadiens, who missed the playoffs last season and finished in sixth place in the Eastern conference’s Atlantic division.
“We went through it last year. It’s tough, obviously, but it’ll make you a better person, make you work harder, make you dig a little deeper, make you more mentally strong for the year, I think.
“Things aren’t going well for them right now, but they’ve still got a lot of great hockey players over there that can do a lot of great things, just have to stick to their guns and keep competing.”
Like a lot of his former Blackhawks teammates, Andrew was surprised Quenneville was fired earlier this season.
“Disappointing, obviously,” Shaw said. “The guy had so much success, the guy had so much respect. One of my favorite coaches to play for. He was awesome. He was great to me, he treated me like a son. So to see that happen is obviously very sad.”
Even though he was sporting a visitor’s jersey, watching Shaw play at the United Center on Sunday was almost like he never left. He grabbed an assist on the first goal of the game and found himself in a shoving match with Hawks captain Jonathan Toews.
“Once you get out there, it’s talky,” Shaw said. “He probably hates playing against me as much as I hate playing against him. But off the ice, we’re still friends, we still talk, we still keep in touch and see how each other is doing, but it was fun playing against him.”
Shaw said he also got a few ‘Welcome back, Shawzies’ from former teammates like Duncan Keith.
Canadiens talk Hawks disappointing season
Shea Weber: “Obviously they’re struggling but they still have a lot of top end guys over there. They’ve got a lot of skill and guys that have been in this league and have done good things for a long time.
“So, a team that you can’t take lightly and you see how fast things have turned around in this league with winning streaks and losing streaks and I mean they’re probably trying to find a way to get [out of it].”
Carey Price: “They played pretty well (Sunday). They obviously still have a lot of dangerous players in their lineup and you have to be aware when they’re on the ice.”
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