Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Hawks celebrate Saad's first goal
Brandon Saad couldn't hide the emotions after scoring his first NHL goal.
If Chicago Blackhawks rookie forward Brandon Saad's career is anything like scouts have projected for him, he'll become accustomed to scoring NHL goals pretty soon.
But for one night, there wasn't any bigger thrill in the world for Saad than scoring an NHL goal.
With just past 10 minutes expired in the first period of Tuesday's game against the San Jose Sharks, Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook back-handed the puck to Saad at the bottom of the right circle. Saad dropped down to his left knee, swung his stick and sent the puck into the top right corner of the net.
The goal was the first of Saad's 13-game career, and the 20-year-old acted accordingly. A wide smile broke out over his face, and he threw his arms over his head. He then skidded on one knee behind the net and windmill-punched his right arm into the air.
Saad explained after the Blackhawks' 5-3 win that his celebration wasn't in any way premeditated. It was simply his emotions traveling through him.
"I was pretty excited, so whatever came to mind," Saad said.
Marian Hossa was Saad's first teammate to embrace him and give him a pat on the helmet. Jonathan Toews was second, and rest of the line followed.
The bench was just as ecstatic for Saad, who had entered Tuesday's game with 19 career shots on goal and had just missed on a couple opportunities this season.
"I think everybody in here is happy for him," Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane said. "He's had chances. It was going to happen sooner or later."
Moments after the on-ice celebration, Saad was caught by the television camera with a wide grin as he re-watched his goal on the stadium's scoreboard. He also carried a smile when he took a picture with the puck following the game.
It was a monumental moment for Saad, and Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was just as pleased for him. Quenneville has praised Saad's play throughout the season even though Saad hasn't had the numbers to show for it.
"It was matter of time," said Quenneville, who put Saad on the first line after Daniel Carcillo suffered an injury in the season opener. "He's been special for us. That line has been dangerous and effective. He does so many things instead of the production. He doesn't have much to reflect on that, but his play has been just the way you want it to be.
"Eventually, he's going to score. Hopefully one day, he breaks out because he compliments the other two guys (Hossa and Toews) and they compliment him, and it's been a real good line for us."