Rookies Shaw, Hayes outplay Hawks' stars
January, 5, 2012
By Jesse Rogers | ESPNChicago.com
PHILADELPHIA -- If any post game comment -- not involving bad defense -- summed up the Chicago Blackhawks' 5-4 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers it came from captain Jonathan Toews.
“Great to see those young guys pushing it,” Toews said. “The rest of us need to follow it.”
That’s right. The best two players on the ice for the Hawks were rookies Andrew Shaw and Jimmy Hayes, playing in their first and third career games. They were monsters but if the rookies are outplaying the stars that might not be a good thing. Still, they were impressive.
Eric Hartline/US PresswireBlackhawks rookie Andrew Shaw had a busy debut against the Flyers on Thursday.
“Liked them,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Liked them all. I thought they all played real well.”
And Quenneville didn’t like much else about the loss so you know he meant it. Defenseman Dylan Olsen, also making his debut, was less impressive than the forwards but it would have been hard for anyone to be better.
Shaw almost scored on his first shift, he fought on his second, tallied a goal in the second period and nearly completed the Gordie Howe hat trick in the third with a pretty feed to Patrick Kane, but Ilya Bryzgalov made the save.
“It’s great for them,” Jonathan Toews said. “Everyone is excited, everyone is pumped around them. To see those guys have some success.”
Shaw joked on Wednesday that it was going to be “a war” in Philadelphia the next night. After the game he looked like he had just been through one, sporting 8-10 stitches on the left side of his forehead caused by a fight with Zac Rinaldo.
“He challenged me, I accepted,” Shaw said. “I knew how he would fight. He keeps throwing and throwing. He caught me with one off the start.”
Shaw’s first career goal came in a key moment, putting the Hawks ahead 2-1.
“Puck came loose, made a little move around a defenseman and went 5 hole,” he said.
No one was more impressed than Toews, who centered for Shaw until the rookie was moved with Kane and Marian Hossa, ostensibly to ignite that duo in the third period.
“It’s natural for anyone to go out there and be out of sync and out of timing a little bit, but it seemed like [Shaw] was in the right places and doing the right things,” Toews said. “Huge confidence boost to get that fight and get that goal and get us going there.
As good as Shaw was, Hayes may have been better. Almost every time he touched the puck good things happened, especially in the way of scoring chances for him and his line. He showed soft hands to open the scoring when Jamal Mayers fed him in front of the Flyers' net.
“Hayes has been working so hard and showing what he can do the last couple of games,” Toews said.
Hayes was all over the place, finishing with four shots in just 8:33 of ice time. That number led the team after two periods. Hayes was a force and Shaw made a difference. It was a bright spot in an otherwise bad night.