The Chicago Blackhawks have a player on their roster who is fast developing a reputation for reckless play. He has been suspended several times for his antics and may quickly become a marked man on the ice both by opponents and the NHL Vice President on Player Safety, Brendan Shannahan.
No, that player isn't Daniel Carcillo, though he has a rich history all his own in this area. That player is second-year forward Andrew Shaw.
Shaw, a fifth-round draft pick in 2011 who has made good with the Blackhawks, is a double-edged sword.
On one hand, Shaw brings an energy to the roster that absolutely cannot be denied.
After stunning the organization with a 12-goal, 11-assist effort in 37 contests in 2011-12, Shaw has continued to be a valuable member of this year's club. Through 17 games, he has three goals and three helpers. Last Friday, he had a goal in a 4-1 win over San Jose.
This past Friday, with the Sharks back in town, we got another look at the other side of the coin.
Should Andrew Shaw have received a suspension as a result of his boarding of Joe Pavelski Friday night?
In the waning seconds of Chicago's 2-1 victory, Shaw knocked Joe Pavelski into the boards directly in front of the San Jose bench. Ryan Clowe took offense and may have earned a lengthy suspension by possibly leaving the bench to do so.
While Clowe is suspended indefinitely while the league decides if he came from behind the boards to retaliate, the scrappy Shaw was handed a two-minute boarding minor and will apparently escape supplementary discipline.
This post is not meant to discuss the hit laid on Pavelski by Shaw, nor is it going to address T.J. Galiardi's boarding of Marcus Kruger earlier in the game. Both of those plays were ill-advised. I'm just wondering how long Shaw has before his reckless play begins to catch up with him.
This isn't the first time Shaw has played it fast and loose along the boards and it surely won't be the last. Shaw needs to play upon the edge of the law in order for his game to be effective. If that means occasionally plowing into a crease or dropping the gloves, so be it.
How long, however, can Shaw continue before his style stops being scrappy and starts being dirty?
I'm sure fans of the Sharks and other teams may consider Shaw to be that player right now.
Shaw got a six-game vacation down in Rockford this fall after leaving the IceHogs bench to fight Patrick Bordeleau in a game with Lake Erie November 3. He has been suspended several times at the AHL level and has a three-game suspension following his contact with Mike Smith in Chicago's playoff series with Phoenix last spring.
I wouldn't look for Shaw to tone down his game anytime soon. This is the reason he is in the NHL. I know I enjoy watching him play. He's a good guy to have on the team and leaves it all on the ice. His attitude endeared him to Rockford fans the same was it has won over the fans in Chicago.
Carcillo is a player who is seldom going to get the benefit of the doubt on a questionable play. Is Shaw approaching that reputation, or has he arrived there already?