What to Watch for Over the Final Eight Games, the Next Shaw, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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What to Watch for Over the Final Eight Games, the Next Shaw, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Over 500 NHL games, two Stanley Cups, and a mountain of memorable moments, Andrew Shaw was a Chicago Blackhawk through and through. Not the biggest player, not the most skilled, not the fastest, and yet he was a key piece to winning two Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks and was a player who – when at his best – embodied the blue-collar spirit of the Chicago sports fan. Andrew Shaw announced his retirement from hockey on Monday morning, putting the end to a ten-year NHL career spending seven seasons with the Blackhawks and three with the Montreal Canadiens.

•   In a video posted by the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday, Shaw announced his retirement and thanked the people who helped him along the way in his career.

•   Shaw cited concussions for his retirement at the strong recommendation of his doctors. He was placed in concussion protocol in February and there was little chance he was coming back from it. Shaw missed 14 months from November 2019 to the start of the 2021 season in January due to a concussion. I was skeptical of him coming back in January, but he was cleared and played like he had always done. It’s the sad price players like Shaw pay for playing the game like they do. Ultimately, Andrew had to choose his health and his future.

•   Some of his former teammates wished him well in retirement online after the announcement including Alex DeBrincat:

•   Also sending Shaw his well wishes was Adam Boqvist:

•   Shaw was a well-respected player in the locker room in Chicago and Montreal. A tough player to play against, he has been revered as a great teammate and person to be around.

•   Following the announcement on Monday morning, Shaw spoke to the media about his decision to retire and what is next for him in life.

•   Like a lot of people have said this season, Brandon Hagel reminds them a lot of Andrew Shaw, only a faster and more skilled version. Shaw sees the same thing in the rookie Hagel.

•   Chicago won’t be able to get rid of the “Mutt” that easily, though, not that we would anyways.

•   Blackhawks President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Stan Bowman also had some kind words for Shaw on his way out from the team.

•   This comment really hit a weird spot for me.

•   It has been such a weird season for the Blackhawks in 2021. From no fans, only playing against the same seven teams, no Jonathan Toews, and the ups and downs of the season schedule. Then you remember that three modern-era legends and multi-time Stanley Cup champions had to hang it up all in a four-month+ span.

•   The Blackhawks get back in action on Tuesday night, taking on the Tampa Bay Lightning. Chicago sits five points back of the Nashville Predators for the final playoff spot in the Division and have the Dallas Stars three points ahead of them in fifth-place. With eight games remaining in the season, it appears the Blackhawks are all but done for postseason hopes.

•   In the next few games, what I want to see from the Blackhawks is a heavy dose of their young players. We’ve already seen a lot of rookies and young players come through for Chicago this season, but let’s get a few more guys into the lineup and give players like Brandon Hagel, Philipp Kurashev, and Wyatt Kalynuk significant minutes.

•   There will be a chance to get more players into the lineup as the Blackhawks announced that Ryan Carpenter was placed in concussion protocol on Monday and that Calvin de Haan is still dealing with his hip injury.

•   The focus for the next eight games should be a showcase of your young players. It likely won’t be, because the team is going to try to make the playoffs as much as possible until they are actually, for real for real, eliminated from contention. But again, they play the Lightning on Tuesday, so take that how you will.

•   I’m just in the mood for competitive, fun hockey from here on out. That’s all I ask.

•   Today is the ten-year anniversary of the Canucks beating the Blackhawks in overtime of Game Seven of the first round of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs. While Vancouver celebrates “the most iconic moment in team history” (lol, then what happened?) Let’s not forget the gutsy effort it took the Blackhawks to get to overtime in Game Seven. For a team that barely made the postseason with a depleted roster from the 2010 monster team that won the Stanley Cup the year before, this was quite the comeback effort.

•   Finally, it appears that we can at least eliminate one broadcast partner for the NHL as they work a new TV rights deal. According to reports, NBC will not be the secondary rights-holder for the NHL alongside ESPN.

•   While there is no clear-cut answer yet for who will be the secondary partner, TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting it may be TNT. We’ll see what develops as the 2021 season comes to a close this summer.

•   That’s all for today. Enjoy you Monday!

Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.