Andrew Shaw

Andrew Shaw

When I played hockey I mostly resented the pest on my team, because unlike pure fighters, very few pests aren’t representing who they really are with their on-ice actions. Fighters are often soft-souls when they doff the hockey hat. Pests are not, which is to say, they’re a f*****g handful in the dressing room.

Yeah, like that.

Now, that alone is not enough to “resent” anyone. It’s not like you’re going to get along with everyone in the room, and it’s not like annoying people are confined to one role, but I resented them because they always did so damn well for themselves, and I was jealous.

I was an offensive player with good vision and hands; relative terms, given I was a college/ECHL-level player. Essentially, I was a rec hockey threat wasting a 6’2 (okay, 6’1.5″) frame which made my coaches want to run me through a meat grinder (which incidentally I was doing to myself anyway by playing in the ECHL). I was a conserve-and-burst style player from the broken mold of Drew Stafford.

But not pests, no. Coaches love pests. Those guys don’t waste an ounce of their ability, especially their energy. They do things people their size shouldn’t, they get points by “going to the dirty areas” which makes most ED pills unnecessary for most coaches, and gosh darn-it, check out how pissed off those idiots on the other team are now.

From my perspective at the time our pests took unnecessary penalties, swatted the hornets nest I had to play against, then messed with guys’ gear in the room which is ha-ha-ha-larious at 8:30 in the morning when you’re pulling your shinpads off your stall’s top shelf and there’s a cut-off cup of water in there to fall on you. (It has to be cut low so you don’t see it, obviously.)

In reality, their value is probably somewhere between how I thought then – why do we use this guy so much? – and how I think now, which is that Brad Marchand is amazing.

You can’t really make a blanket assessment of them, given that somebody like Brad Marchand, while a true pest, is also an incredibly good hockey player, while someone like Leo Komorov (or whoever, there are plenty of examples of lesser pests, pick who you prefer) is replacement level at best. Some are able to play their game while being cognizant of effing with yours, and some have to devote all their brain power to it, which renders them useless in the process.

In the end, I realize I probably should only take issue with the latter type, the guy who didn’t do enough positive to justify the negatives, like PIMs and having put up with his shenanigans in the dressing room.

All I know is that without having any relationship with Andrew Shaw whatsoever, and without having heard a behind-the-scenes word about him, I’m glad I don’t have to deal with him in the room on a daily basis. When he scores a triple overtime goal like he did last night, you just know there are guys sitting there 10 minutes after the initial relief of winning has washed away shaking their head, dreading the reality that his on-ice success is just going to free him up to be louder, and more…I dunno…pervasive in the dressing room.

But if he’s going to have success…who are those guys to resent him, right?

 Sigh…right? Remember: he’s helping. He’s helping. Just remember…he’s helping…

I love shinpads!

Comments (10)

  1. In the media day before the series, both Saad (road roommate) and Kane (stall neighbor in the dressing room) mentioned that he talks a lot. If Kane (who seems like he would be a loud cheerful locker room presence himself) is saying he tells Shaw to shut up, Toews must be wishing he could strangle him.

  2. I thought you enjoyed Michael Haley on your team – does he not fit this criteria?

    • Haley wasn’t just a pest, he’d fight. In fact, he preferred fighting. And he has legit skill, so, I wouldn’t classify him as a pest. He’s a beaut.

      • Fair enough (though obviously not NHL-level skill, but most players don’t have NHL-level skill).

        Guess Justin DiBenedetto would’ve been the more typical fringe isles pest of recent years (Isles didn’t really have one this year)

  3. I love that clip. Yes Bolly. I love you. I love shinpads.

  4. I can’t help it but does Shaw have the most punchable face in the league… It just begs to be hit!!!! gah!

    • There’s a word in German for this: “backpfeifengesicht”, which translates to “a face badly in need of a fist.”

  5. The good things about the pests like Marchant is that they can really play hockey. The pest part is extraneous and not hockey (or else slashing, goalie interference, unsportsmanlike conduct, roughing, etc would not be in the rulebook).

    The pests themselves can’t be blamed for doing things that their coaches love. But because that line of work is deliberately meant to inhibit skill, and is visually and morally separable from honourable toughness such as giving and absorbing hits that have a tactical purpose, pestiness should be…pest controlled.

  6. Shaw fights. Not in the Stanley Cup Finals, which seems to be sacrosanct, but he does. He’s just terrible at it. I’d rather he stick to his current style. Not everyone can be an offensive player with good vision and hands who can’t score.

  7. I can’t seem to get your stance on Shaw. Are you saying that he’s a pest without an upside? Because the kid can definitely play some hockey…

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