Unsung Foursome Does Much of the Heavy Lifting

May 5, 2017


Bill Smith/Getty ImagesBut while those players command most of the headlines along with and Corey Crawford the have a crew of supporting players who make a significant difference and often supply the difference between victory and defeat.Head coach Joel Quenneville knows that players like Andrew Shaw, , and Niklas Hjalmarsson are special in their own right. They may not be superstars, but they specialize in doing the gritty, nasty work that allows the team to maintain its position among the elite organizations in the league. He kills penalties, takes a regular shift on whatever line head coach Joel Quenneville asks him to play on and will do an excellent job in the defensive zone.Shaw is an agitator who knows how to get under his opponent’s skin, and he will not hesitate to stand up for any of his teammates. Even though he is 5’10” and 180 pounds, Shaw is not afraid to square off with bigger men.He has been on the ice for many big moments. The biggest took place in Game 1 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final when he scored the game winning goal against the Boston in triple overtime. While it was not an artistic goal off of his cheap jerseys China
shin pads on a double deflection Shaw was in the right place at the right time, and that goal gave the Blackhawks the early edge in a series they would go on to win in six games. He is a 21 year old who has two full years in the league and may be ready to blossom into a full fledged star.”Brandon has come in at a young age and played a big role on our team and obviously that’s something we want to continue going forward,” general manager Stan Bowman told Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune (subscription required).The Blackhawks are planning to have Saad play left wing on the team’s No. 2 line with center and Patrick Kane. Saad has explosive skating ability and high end skills, and he appears ready to climb the NHL ladder.However, even if he does that, he probably won’t get the recognition he deserves since he’s on a team with so many superstars.Jonathan Toews, , Patrick Sharp, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Corey Crawford and the quicksilver Kane are going to dominate most of the headlines and highlights. Still, Saad plays a key role for the Blackhawks, as he skates a regular shift and is also used on the power play and penalty kill.He is never going to be among the team leaders in scoring or plus minus, but he plays a key role for the Blackhawks during the regular season, and he does even more during the playoffs.Smith will go into the corners, do anything he can to come away with the puck, and then he will go to the front of the net so he can screen the goalie or get his hands on a rebound.Additionally, Smith will throw his body in front of any shot without a care of how much damage that piece of vulcanized rubber can do. He plays with abandon that borders on the reckless.He is not going to do the big things that help his team win because he is not capable of carrying the team on his shoulders. However, he will do all the little things without having to be asked or reminded.Smith scored four goals and two assists during last year’s playoffs, and he came up big in the physical first round against the St. Louis and earned the respect of his teammates.”He does everything the right way,” Patrick Sharp told Chris Hine of the Chicago Tribune. “He plays on the right side of the puck. He makes simple plays. He makes smartplays. He makes hard plays.”


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