Blackhawks Andrew Shaw Set To Return: Now What?

When Jonathan Toews scored the dramatic, game-winning goal in Phoenix late on Saturday night, two things were assured.

The two teams will meet again, in Chicago, on Monday night.

And Andrew Shaw will return to the lineup for the Blackhawks.

In Saturday night’s victory, the Blackhawks had three rookies in the lineup: Jimmy Hayes, Marcus Kruger and Brandon Saad. Saad and Hayes both skated just over 11 minutes in the game, and Kruger was held to his lowest ice time of the series (13:32).

Kruger has struggled with the physical play from the Coyotes in the series, and his numbers indicate that his ice time could stand to limited even more moving forward. Through five games, Kruger is pointless, minus-four and has been credited with only 10 shots on net.

Hayes made poorly-timed rookie mistake on the Coyotes’ one goal, passing the puck back to the far point where a defenseman would have been if Niklas Hjalmarsson wasn’t pinching deep in the Phoenix zone. In spite of that play, Hayes had a decent first playoff game with one hit and two shots on goal. His size was noticeable when he was on the ice as well, something the Hawks have lacked all year.

And Saad has looked great in his first two playoff games. His assist on Nick Leddy’s game-tying goal in the third period was the first point of his NHL career, and he’s been physical in both games. He was credited with four hits in 13:11 in Game Four and had the assist in 11:31 in Game Five.

The question for coach Joel Quenneville and his staff now becomes who will join the players watching from the suite in Game Six.

As we pointed out before Game Five, the Blackhawks have nothing to lose by playing rookies at this point in the season. We asked for Hayes to be on the ice, and he was. Now, he should stay there.

The comments we made about Andrew Brunette remain the same. The soon-to-be-39-year-old forward continues to have his impact on the game limited because he’s so slow, and the return of Shaw should give Quenneville another forward that could – and should – put Brunette on the healthy scratch list.

In Game Five, Brunette’s ice time was cut back to 10:42 on only 14 shifts. He continues to be one of the ice time leaders for the Hawks on the power play… which, in case you missed it, sucks.

Frankly, there’s nothing Brunette is doing that Hayes, Saad or Shaw cannot do right now (and into next season).

Brendan Morrison hasn’t been overwhelming in his two games, but at least he can get up and down the ice. And Morrison gave the Hawks 96 good seconds of penalty killing duty on Saturday night. While we would prefer Jamal Mayers’ physical presence on the ice over Morrison, either of them is a better option than Brunette at this point.

The Blackhawks best chances of winning two more games in this series are by beating the Coyotes up and down the ice. Having players that will battle for a puck and can then turn and get up the ice is paramount at this point, and having a player with the skating ability of a bowl of oatmeal on the ice is only hurting the team’s chances.

Brunette’s had a great career, and he’s a class act. But his time in Chicago is done. Quenneville needs to insert Shaw into the lineup in place of Brunette for Monday night’s Game Six.

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53 Responses to Blackhawks Andrew Shaw Set To Return: Now What?

  1. Brad says:

    I have a hard time believing he will take brunette out. But I do agree with you. I think BMo has been a flop but he surprised us with that goal and some good minutes. Hayes certainly has it in him to make a difference out there. Glad Q went with Crawford.
    Excited for the game tomorrow.

  2. Biggs says:

    Tab, Spot on!

  3. Nancy Anne Johnson says:

    We continue to need speed, Hayes and Shaw both have that. We need presence at the net, although Hayes made a rookie mistake, he continues to check well, he works the corners, etc. Shaw is definitely needed in the lineup, scratch Brunette and allow Shaw to make his presence felt.

  4. Pete says:

    Tab I agree totally on Shaw for Brunette. Thats a huge upgrade on team speed if that swap occurs. I also like Lepisto staying in on D in place of O’Donnell/Olsen. I assume Montador and Hoss are out for game 6. Hayes and Saad should stay in. So that leaves (IMO) the decision between Mayers and Morrison. Before the last two games I would have said Mayers over Morrison in a heartbeat. Now I admit I have no idea between those two players. Great game and go Hawks. Also I expect another cheap shot on one of our skill players in Game 6. Anyone else feel that coming.

  5. Peter says:

    I too was impressed with Morrison’s penalty kill skills, but I doubt Stalberg gets called for 4 minors again…

  6. Will says:

    I’m confused, is Mayers scratched or is he hurt/ unhealthy? I cannot really see any reason to scratch him if he’s healthy. He’s exactly what we need for the playoffs.

  7. Ozzzie19 says:

    Id like to leave the third line as is (and as it was when it excelled in the playoffs last year) with Bolland centering Bickell and Frolik. I’d slot Shaw on the second line with Kane and Sharp. My conundrum would be who to put with Toews and Stalberg. I’m tempted to give both Hayes and Saad a shot at it in the first period and whoever is plying well sticks there. Whoever isn’t goes to the fourth line with Morrison and (hopefully) Mayers.

  8. Tom Jaremka says:

    The mighty Vancouver Canuckleheads have fallen to the 8th seed in the west. The look of shock and disbelief on all of their faces made me smile from ear to ear.

    NOW, they have to unload Luongo, the ALFONZO SORIANO of the NHL. Good luck trying to get a team to take a contract like tha!! LOL. Right now, Corey Crawford isn’t lookin’ too bad, boys.

  9. Joe says:

    I agree with the Brunette Shaw swap. I hate how Q continues to put Brunette on the same line as Toews or Kane. Plain and simply his old age just can’t keep up with their speed. I’d put Shaw back on the checking line because I think he is better defensively and is more of a physical force, and since Frolik is hot right now, I’d put him somewhere on the top 2 lines.

  10. Travis says:

    Why is everyone saying we need more speed? Phoenix’s whole defensive system is designed to stop speed. The fact that the Hawks have little/no speed up the ice isn’t because they have the wrong personnel out there. It’s because Phoenix plays their trappish system so well.

    So what do we do? Try to play a speed game against a trap, which leads to turnovers at the blue line and an odd-man rush? Or play guys who can win board battles, control the puck in traffic, and beat guys in 1-on-1 battles? Of course it’s the latter! Why skate through the trap when you can dump the puck and retrieve it in a board battle? And that stifles the Yotes’ excellent counter-attack, which is the principle way they generate offense!

    Saad, Toews, Stalberg, Brunnette, Shaw, and Hayes (and Hossa, *sniff*) are the guys who are good with the puck in traffic or along the boards. Mayers and Morrison aren’t. Keep the one who is the better penalty killer, the other is the scratch to make room for Shaw.

  11. Saleem says:

    While I agree with your conclusion (that Bruno needs to be replaced), I wonder about your assessment that Hayes’ play led to the goal. If I remember the play correctly, Hayes’ took the puck behind the net with speed, Hjammer pinched for no apparent reason, and Hayes threw the puck in front on an attempted wraparound/put it off the goalie’s back.
    The problem I saw with the play was Hjalmarsson pinching with the play coming to his side. The pinch there doesn’t help any more than positioning yourself to get a one-timer from the top of the circle. That positioning would also keep the ability to get back if, as it happened, the puck carrier loses the puck.
    Thoughts?

  12. JS says:

    The pinch was right in front of Hayes, the proper play would be to cycle it, not center it when you see that a defensemen is pinching.

  13. AJ says:

    Restart the cycle, get some tired Coyote defenders, draw a penalty, not score on the power play, is probably how that play should have gone in an ideal world regarding the Hammer pinch / Hayes throw to no one.

    They won so you just move on at this point.

    For this game you want players who can get up and down the ice against this team. Bruno cannot do that, at all. Shaw is also fresh so he should be able to eat 17 minutes with out to much trouble.

    Phoenix plays a hard forecheck and started to look tired… Finally… the last game. With 1 day rest and the Hawks rolling 4 lines… Which they legitimately did last game (no Mayers playing 5:32 or Bollig playing 3:50 very key stats that no one is talking about) and they looked much sharper and dictated play in a significant way in the 3rd and OT because of it.

  14. Tim G says:

    If im writing up the roster…

    Stalberg/Toews/Saad
    Sharp/Kruger/Kane
    Bicks/Bolland/Shaw
    Frolik/Mayers/Hayes

    We are in must win games. We need to outskate PHX these last two. (not necessarly faster, but harder working and with good pace) I think Morrison and Bruno won’t help us in this. Bollig has been a breath of fresh air as a forth liner, but we have no time for fights this game when we need to just come out and take this back to phx.

  15. Saleem says:

    I’m just trying to learn here, because I certainly don’t know hockey well enough. So Hayes is supposed to read the pinch and then reverse the puck, which would give Hjalmarsson time to retreat or stay positioned for a backdoor pass?
    I guess the part I don’t understand is that I was under the impression that, generally, the d are supposed to stay available at/near the blue line for passes/one-timers. I thought the d should only be pinching to keep a play alive (maybe as far down as the dots), or if all the defenders drop down so far that they would be open from closer in. I guess I just didn’t understand what purpose Hjalmarsson’s pinch was supposed to serve there.
    I may be talking myself into this, but if I’m understanding right, it seems like maybe Hjalmarsson’s pinch was questionable, but Hayes, as the puck carrier, has to recognize that and reverse the play to protect against just that sort of odd-man situation.

  16. Elio Bevilacqua says:

    …….Well here we are Game 6 were on life support and we are trying to outwit the wile Coyotes for the next two games…… the Blackhawks have a few aces up their sleeve albeit black aces that must be utilized ……Shaw, Saad, Hayes and Bollig……hopefully the exuberance of youth and the boost of energy will get us out of yet another come from behind emergency situation….go Hawks!!!!!……

  17. Tim G says:

    from espn reports, looks like Saad out, Shaw in. Bollig and Mayers scratched again.

  18. Elio Bevilacqua says:

    ……Generally good comments on this blog…..good stuff keep it up….However, don’t agree with Tom Jarenka’s slur on Roberto Luongo being the Alfonso Soriano of the NHL………Luongo is probably one of the most athletic workhorse goaltenders in the NHL similar to our Tony Esposito who unfortunately didn”t win the Cup either ….wish the Blackhawks would get him as No.1 and keep Crawford as No.2…….don”t forget Eddie Belfour was with Chicago but went on to win the Cup with Dallas Stars. Similarly Luongo is young enough to win a Cup in the future but not with Vancouver……….

  19. JS says:

    Elio- Luongo has all the skill in the world to be a SC winning goaltender, but between the ears he is pudding. If he let in those two softies that Crawford let in, he wouldn’t be able to start a game for a month because he would dwell on it so hard. Skill wise, he’s amazing… but once you get in his head it’s game over.

    And Saleem you seem to have it right. Getting the puck to the front of the net is never a bad thing, but Hayes should have read that his defensemen was pinching down low to try to start a cycle. Obviously the play didn’t bother Q that much because he kept getting shifts and he’s dressing again. However, those are those “rookie” mistakes that you have to look out for.

  20. RedRocket says:

    Elio-
    Luongo has never won the BIG game. Even in the Olympic Gold Medal game, I feel Canada won in spite of Reboundo. He looked a little shakey.
    As far as Bobby Lou winning a cup with another team, who’s going to pick up that contract? I think it has ten years left on it.

    Going back in History…Game 7 against Montreal, 1971…Hawks up 2-0, Tony O let a Jacques LeMaire slapshot in from the center line…I know Richard went around Maggie for the game winner, but the slapshot in the fog turned the tide.

  21. Brad Stevenson says:

    Absolutely agree to keep the kids in the lineup and Brunette out…plus I would prefer to see Mayers back in and Morrison out…some of Q’s decisions on personnel are bizarre at best…

    The bottom line is this, a Toews led team is going to come out like gang busters…so all we need to have is solid goaltending…if Crawford continues this, then the Hawks will win out in this series…Nashville will be a LOT tougher…

  22. Pete says:

    When and how do we find out the lineup for tonight’s game. Does Q have to give notice to someone at a certain time who is dressing for the game? Anyone know about this?

  23. AC says:

    Elio, the thing about Luongo, besides the whole wetting the bed in big games, is that he has a cap hit of $5.3 Mil through the 2022 season (yes, 10 more years!!!). He is currently 33, as well. His contract is a bear and will make it so that Vancouver will have to take back massive salary and not get pure player market value for him.

  24. Elio Bevilacqua says:

    …….exactly now is a good time for whoever is smart enough to pick up Luongo at a more reasonable market contract value…………

  25. Tab Bamford says:

    Elio: if there were 2-3 yrs left on Luongo’s deal, the “motivated veteran” idea holds weight.

    There are 9 yrs left on his deal. Your concept of “reasonable market value” must include a lot of valium…

  26. Elio Bevilacqua says:

    …….I’ve already demonstrated what happened with Ed Belfour after he left the Blackhawks and winning the Cup at the age of 34 (approx)……similarly I believe Luongo is a bonafide No. 1 Goaltender who I hope will do so in the future with another team ……due to salary cap and a hefty contract it is unlikely that the Blackhawks would try to negotiate something…..but the point I was trying to make is that Luongo most likely will be available and now would be a good time for an astute team to acquire him…………

  27. Pete says:

    So Tab whats the word on tonights lineup? When do we find out?

  28. Tab Bamford says:

    Q doesn’t have to make his final decision until just before the game, but it looks like Shaw replaces Saad & the rest stays the same up front.

  29. Pete says:

    He must think Brunette’s skill set of getting in front of Smith and looking for tips is important. I can’t think of any other reason Brunette is staying in, can you?

  30. Tab Bamford says:

    Elio: what you have demonstrated is a painful disregard for the salary cap and common sense. Luongo’s an over rated goalie who’s never won a big game and has 9 yrs left on one of the worst contracts in the NHL. By your logic, everyone should sleep w/ Snooki because “she likes to drink.” Child please

  31. Dominic says:

    Kruger is 51.3% at the dot. Kane is 15.4%. Mayers is 35%. Sharp is 42.9%. Morrison is 14.3%. Perhaps we forgot that in the playoffs, face-offs become important – just look at Saturday’s overtime.

    Now you see why we keep dressing Kruger? He is an awful hockey player, but we never bothered to go out and get anyone else to take face-offs…..

  32. Andrew H says:

    Let’s go you Hawks! Commitment, leadership, work ethic, tradition, honor, pride, glory… we lost twice at home, we’re not gonna lose a third time in the UC. Hope Kaner will finally make the difference!

  33. BradK says:

    Like Tab’s and the rest of the views expressed here, I would gladly like to see Brunette a scratch. Pencil in Shaw for two points tonight. I am looking forward to his ability to set screens/deflections for his teammates. Poetic justice would be an “8-1″ romp on the Yotes (in honor of Hoss), but a simple victory in regulation will be just fine to push game seven.

  34. Pete says:

    Agreed BradK, but it doesn’t seem to be happening as Q keeps putting Brunette in the lineup. I’m no expert so the question is why is Q doing that? He must have a reason.

  35. wall says:

    Louserongo!!!! Please…. Once again, the defense (and offense/puck control) is what makes most goalies look good!

    Smith is average… Phoenix -D- is that good! (just see Bryzgalov for proof!)

    Mayers was invisible first few games… go w/ Morrison-
    Crow- can’t let in any cheapies- then we still have a chance-

  36. AJ says:

    I’m just offended Bobby Lu was compared to the Eagle.

  37. JS says:

    Ed Belfour is a God. Bobby Lu couldn’t hold his jock.

    And Dominic I wouldn’t call Kruger awful, just undersized. He is pretty slick with the puck and makes smart decisions. He also gets dirty goals which I find to be quite sexy.

  38. Ryan says:

    Dominic you realize that you calling out Kruger means he will have a great game tonight right? Over 51% on the dot ain’t bad.

    As for lineup picks I am ok with Shaw for Saad, as much as I’d like Bruno replaced he did draw a penalty and darn near redirect a goal last game. Bruno has improved as the series has gone on

  39. Zebra Greg says:

    I can’t believe anyone on this blog would advocate bringing Luongo in…he’s an absolute head case and not at all a comparison to Ed Belfour who had exceptional nerve and moxy. Bobbilu is weak-minded and cannot take repetitive heat.
    15 mins to puck drop…let’s go boyz!

  40. smitty says:

    So Q picks Brunette over Saad. Very questionable decision. Playing Brunette on the PP. Insanity. Whatever happens in the third period Q has to go. The PP has been pathetic all season long and the best we can do when the season is on the line – play a guy who has been dead weight all year long. Give me a break.

  41. Gou says:

    Hot goalie has made a difference again. Play the under in the Phoenix/Nashville series.

    Elio, study salary cap 101 before you come back. Your ignorance makes me smile.

    It will be interesting to see how this team gets rebuilt for next year.

  42. Tim G says:

    How about those Western semifinals. The goalie with the best GAA, 2 Vezina Canidates, and a guy who in the last month has played better goalie than pretty much everyone… WOW. Soooooo How is Mac Carruth playing these days?

  43. Shane Chaves says:

    The hot goalie did make the difference, & the next to incompetent, cold goalie also made an equal difference. I hope to GOD I don’t ever see Corey Crawford in a Blackhawks sweater again. He was SHAMEFUL for the bulk of this series.

    Great effort by our forwards & defensemen who played such a solid game last night. We just couldn’t get one to go our way.

  44. Brad Stevenson says:

    Pathetic that so many fans don’t want to see the obvious…our forwards are very good, but NOT great…our defence is average, at best, and our goaltending is average, at best.

    That makes us a pretty good team…we won a 101 points this season…but PHX is BETTER than us because they have average forwards, a good defence and PHENOMENAL goaltending…that makes them a very good team.

    That is why they easily won the season series and that is why they won this series…and remember this, both our wins came in OT…and three times we had to score in the last minute(s) just to send the game to OT…

    So who was the better team? PHX…and let’s not kid ourselves, Dave Tippet and Co. OWNED coach Q and his weak staff…coaching played a role in this series as well.

  45. RedRocket says:

    First off…Kudos to the Blackhawks. They left nothing in the tank last night but still fell short. Perhaps had one of those first period shots beaten Smith, we’d be celebrating today. But he wasn’t beaten. He stopped everything.

    Both teams had blown coverage’s. Phoenix capitalized… Chicago did not.
    Great saves hide those kinds of things.

    Moving on, four elite scoring powerhouses, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Vancouver and Chicago have been eliminated. The Western Conference teams were beaten by defensive, opportunistic, teams with outstanding goaltending. Perhaps the game is just evolving in that direction.

    If that is indeed the case, the Hawks will need to adapt.

  46. Gou says:

    Just curious, I have heard there is an outstanding young prospect net minder from either Finland or Sweden. I believe this was the kid that Emery beat out. Does anyone have any validity to share on this.

    In regard to adding to our offense, I would have liked to seen Carter on our team at the trade deadline. Big guy that brings a lot to the table. might have been to pricey, but the Kings did not give up to much and it has helped them immensely.

    Different look from the west with all of the usual suspects gone. Actually refreshing to see a changing of the guard. Still would’ve been nice to see the boys play the Preds.

    Gonna be an interesting summer for Stan.

  47. Gou says:

    If you had the chance: Kaner for Nash straight up. Your thoughts…

  48. Tab Bamford says:

    @ Gou: I wouldn’t do it & don’t think either GM would, either.

  49. Cord says:

    What did Kane do at the end of the game to get him tossed? Couldn’t see from the rafters.

  50. Pete says:

    I will go into the waters of complaining about how the officials handled this series. Torres received one of the biggest suspension in NHL history and he broke three rules according to the league. NO CALL on the ice and we lose that game(3) in OT after one of our best players is knocked out of the series. It was the turning point in the series according to Q and there is no doubt that Phoenix benefitted from Torres’ illegal act in that game and in the series as a whole. Last night Hayes gets a 5 minute major and game misconduct for a penalty when we still had a chance. The officials are all over us on that play and throw the book at the hawks. They could have tried to even out the Torres thing there but absolutely no break given to the Hawks at all even in light of the Hossa situation etc. Later I saw #53 on Phoenix elbow Shaw to the head last night in the third period NO CALL. All series Phoenix got fast whistles when Smith was laying on the puck and we didn’t get the same treatment. I hate being a baby about this stuff, but the fact is(IMO) the league/officials did not give us equal treatment or try to even things out with Phoenix. The NHL owns Phoenix with their ownership in chaos and they are looking for owners to buy the team. I’m not sayin, I’m just sayin on that connection.

    On the Hawks, this series tells me that Crawford is not the long term answer in the goal. He is physically big, but not big enough. Emery is small and has hip problems. Its clear to me that big goalies have an advantage i.e Mike Smith/Pekka Rinne. We need someone in that mold. Also, I’m glad that the Brunette/O’Donnell/Morrison old man river experiments will be over. In hindsight Bowman did not do enough at the trade deadline(Vermette should have been on our team) and the Hawks keep raising ticket prices(My tix for the 1st round playoff games were $205 apiece) so if Mcdonaugh(sp?) want to push that so hard the Hawks need to go all in to win each year. I don’t think they went all in this year. Maybe the looming labor strife had something do with it. Am I unhappy about how the season ended-YES. Am I being fully rational right now about it-MAYBE NOT. But I do look forward to next year. Also I like Q even if I don’t agree with some of the decisions he made. I say we stay loyal to Q. He won me over again when he complained about the no call on Torres and took the 10k fine. See you guys next year.

  51. mason says:

    Pete,

    Torres got what he deserved. The officials are trying to protect the players and I think it was the right call on Haynes. Penalties tend to even up over the long run. You should stop wearing your tin foil hat. There are no conspiracy theories.

  52. Gou says:

    I do not know what he did and I was pissed tobsee him go tonthe locker room, but he was in line for the hand shake.

    Tab, Just lookin for size and replace talent for talent albeit very different in the way they each play the game. I do not know what Nash’s contract is. Kaner is 5 mil+ a year I believe.

    Either way it is going to an interesting summer before we drop the puck at the UC again.

  53. Gou says:

    I do not know what he did and I was pissed to see him go to the locker room, but he was in line for the hand shake.

    Tab, Just lookin for size and replace talent for talent albeit very different in the way they each play the game. I do not know what Nash’s contract is. Kaner is 5 mil+ a year I believe.

    Either way it is going to an interesting summer before we drop the puck at the UC again.

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