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Why Andrew Shaw Quickly Became a Fan Favorite in Chicago

Andrew Shaw's physical play and eagerness to do the team's dirty work helped make him a fan favorite in his rookie season with the Blackhawks.
Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

The 2011-12 postseason for the Blackhawks is quite often forgotten. After losing in the first round of the playoffs the year prior, the Blackhawks were eager to get back to competing for a Stanley Cup.

They faced the then-Phoenix Coyotes in the first round and were eliminated in six games.

Rookie Andrew Shaw played just 37 games that season for the Blackhawks but recorded 82 hits along with 50 penalty minutes. Though small in stature at only 5-foot-11, he made his presence felt through his hard-nosed playing style and willingness to do the dirty work.

Shaw was given the opportunity to play in three of the Blackhawks' six playoff games, where he continued to show the team and fans what he could bring to the lineup.

"I'm Kinda Glad I Did It"

During game two of the first-round series against the Coyotes, Shaw was chasing down a puck that had just been dumped in. Coyotes' goaltender Mike Smith, who is very comfortable playing the puck, went behind the net to retrieve it. Shaw met him Smith behind the cage and clipped the goaltender, who went to and eventually was met by medical personnel. Some accused Smith of embellishing. Either way, Shaw received a five-minute major and game misconduct.

Shaw joined the Spittin' Chiclets Podcast on Thursday and was asked about the incident with Smith. Shaw responded in perfect Andrew Shaw fashion.

Paul "Biznasty" Bissonnette, who played for the Coyotes from 2009-2014, asked Shaw about the incident with Coyotes' goalie Mike Smith.

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"...and that was the incident that happened with Smitty (Mike Smith) in net. What's your opinion on that whole thing? I think you ended up getting suspended for a few playoff games too, correct?"

- Paul Bissonnette

Shaw went on to explain how he was suspended for three games by the Department of Player Safety before giving an all-time Andrew Shaw quote.

"The player safety called me telling me I meant to do it. I was like, dude listen, I'm 20 years old, you think I wanna piss off a coach like Q?"

- Andrew Shaw

After Shaw also stated his perspective of the hit and how he tried his best to avoid Smith, he finished the conversation with a perfect example of who he is and why Blackhawks' fans grew so fond of him so quickly.

" was an accident, but...I'm kinda glad I did it. Me and Smitty have had a few goes so I'm kinda glad I got him."

- Andrew Shaw

That series against the Coyotes is also most notably remembered for the vicious hit Raffi Torres laid on Marian Hossa. Though intensity was high, Andrew Shaw did not shy away. He flourished in it.

Andrew Shaw is a competitor. The guy plays the game hard and creates space and opportunities for his linemates.

Shaw recently released a statement explaining his decision to forego the Return to Play postseason, electing instead to work toward being ready for the start of the 2020-21 season after battling concussions.

Blackhawks and Smith Reignite Intense History

Mike Smith is now a goaltender for the Edmonton Oilers, who are the Blackhawks' Qualifying Round opponent. The Oilers have not yet announced who will be their game one starter, but either way, the Blackhawks should expect to see Smith at some point.

Smith isn't the only Phoenix connection involved in the upcoming series, however. Oilers' head coach Dave Tippett served as the Coyotes' bench boss during the 2011-12 season, and he will now face off against Jeremy Colliton and the Blackhawks when the calendar turns to August.