Even though this isn't exactly shocking news, it's still tough to swallow. The right time, medically, obviously....but WAY too soon. Andrew Shaw is a name that will resonate in Chicago forever. Not one of the best players, but absolutely one of the most important. An infectious personality. Every single one of Shaw's teammates and coaches have the same look when they talk about Andrew Shaw. It's a simultaneous eye roll and smile. A guy who probably leads the organization in the amount of times he's been told to shut the fuck up, but everyone of those shut-the-fuck-ups was said with a grin and met with one by Shaw. A perfect teammate who would do anything to win. Fight, hit, score, go to the net, block shots, take pucks off the face, and run his mouth. He was the perfect pest and a guy who could never be duplicated. A truly one of a kind guy.
He's been an electric factory from the day he entered the league. He talked about his fight with Zac Rinaldo. That's how he decided to announce his presence...by fighting one of the biggest, meanest, scariest dudes in the league. And then he just never stopped. Memory after memory after memory. The Cups, the OT goals, headers, shin pads, and blood. He can have a job in Chicago forever. One of our favorites.
The other thing that I always think of when I think of Andrew Shaw is the old "#WhatsYourGoal" campaign which was essentially the Blackhawks version of the #MakeAWish Foundation. I think it can be awkward for some people in those situations. It never was for Shaw. He had a way of making everyone feel comfortable with a look, a smile or a joke. That is a truly unique gift that he used to brighten the day of many people of his career. The Blackhawks have that ambassador program for retired players and I can't think of a better guy for that role than Andrew Shaw.
He mentioned it in his video, but part of the reason why we love him so much is that Shaw got the absolute MOST out of his ability. Overlooked and undersized, it didn't matter. He scratched out a GREAT NHL career with his finger nails. He called himself blue collar....I don't think he had a collar. He's a rock breaker. A true lunch pail guy. He made us feel like he played for us. As if we played through him. It was an absolute joy to watch him play and the Hawks have truly never really been the same since he was sent away in a trade in 2016. I'll love Shaw forever. I hope he sticks around the city. Best of luck to one of my all-time favorites in his next phase of life.