PRO HOCKEY

BLACKHAWKS NOTES: Shaw becomes Hawks’ sparkplug

2013-12-09T18:30:00Z 2013-12-09T20:37:11Z BLACKHAWKS NOTES: Shaw becomes Hawks’ sparkplugGeorge Castle Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
December 09, 2013 6:30 pm  • 

On Sunday night, Andrew Shaw jumped into the fray by providing a screen on Patrick Sharp’s power-play goal that opened the scoring against the Florida Panthers.

“Shawzie did a good job taking the goaltender’s eyes away,” Sharp said.

Two periods later, he gave the Hawks another insurance tally with his own power-play goal, his ninth of the season.

Then, as goalie Antti Raanta shook off the cobwebs after being plastered by ex-Hawk Jimmy Hayes, the talkative Shaw volunteered to put on goalie pads if Raanta couldn’t continue.

The Hawks can’t ask for a more colorful character — and a player who does a little bit of everything — including getting under opponents’ skins — to win.

The third-line center, Shaw is on at least a 20-goal pace, trying to keep up with the even more prolific scorers on the first two lines.

“It’d be nice (to reach 20), trust me,” he said. “We got a lot of good hockey players in here. When everyone’s going, it’s when our team’s at our best.

“Come playoff time, teams are going to want to shut those (top) lines down. We got to keep things going, the bottom two. We keep all four lines going, we’ll do great.”

Goalie Simpson recalled: With Corey Crawford out an undetermined length of time with what one report called a groin injury, the team recalled goalie Kent Simpson from Rockford.

The team did not officially comment on Crawford's injury Monday.

Simpson will back up fellow rookie Raanta, who is 3-0-1 so far. The 21-year-old Simpson was 6-7-0 with a 3.38 goals against average and .900 saves percentage in Rockford.

Simpson was the Hawks’ second-round pick in the 2010 NHL draft.

“Raanta’s been great in the few games he’s played and he’s making big saves,” Sharp said.

In addition, forward Bryan Bickell was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 19.

Keep calm, everyone: During the Hawks mini-slump last week, TV color analyst Eddie Olczyk urged the Hawks’ faithful to calm down.

“Coming off last year, people forget it was a shortened season and there weren’t many blips,” Olczyk said. “Over the course of an 82-game schedule, you’re going to have (bad) stretches of three games, five games. They didn’t play great (through a 6-1) road trip.

“It’s much better this way (being a winning team). But again, it’s taking people back to reality a little bit and let them recognize, ‘Here’s what’s going on. Here’s what I see.’ Just seeing a team I saw that looked tired in those two games, looked like they just hit a physical wall for those games.”

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