The Montreal Canadiens knew they were getting a scrappy player with a bit of a mean streak when they shipped two second-round picks to the Chicago Blackhawks for Andrew Shaw, and they know that with Shaw’s style of play comes the risk he’ll be missing some action due to suspension.
What the Canadiens maybe weren’t planning for, though, was that Shaw’s first suspension of the season could come in his very first outing with his new club.
During Tuesday’s pre-season game between the hometown Canadiens and visiting Washington Capitals, Shaw was sent to the showers early for his actions late in the second frame. Montreal had chipped the puck deep into the Capitals zone, and Shaw gave pursuit as Washington blueliner Connor Hobbs went back to start a breakout. As Hobbs collected the puck, his back was turned to the play and Shaw drove through the blueliner, crunching him into the boards and leaving him downed on the ice:
Almost immediately Capitals winger Nathan Walker had his gloves off and was mixing it up with Shaw, who used his free hand to pump up the Bell Centre crowd.
After the fight, Shaw was escorted to the Canadiens’ bench and sent to the dressing room. All told, he was handed 30 minutes in penalties, including a boarding major — served by Jeremy Gregoire — as well as a misconduct, fighting major and game misconduct.
The Canadiens killed off Shaw’s entire major penalty, but there’s a chance they’ll have to continue to play without Shaw in the lineup for at least one more outing in the pre-season. The NHL Department of Player Safety will no doubt be taking a look at Shaw’s hit, and there’s a fair chance that they could deem Shaw’s hit, which was unnecessary, dangerous and required Hobbs to leave the game for medical attention, could draw a suspension.
Thankfully, Hobbs was not seriously injured on the play, and he was able to return to action and record an assist late in the third period.
UPDATE: The NHL's Department of Player Safety announced Thursday that Shaw has been suspended three pre-season games for boarding Hobbs. In the suspension video, NHL director of player safety Patrick Burke said Shaw's hit was one that should have never happened.
"It is important to note that Hobbs is never eligible to be checked by Shaw on this play," Burke said. "From the moment Shaw arrives at the faceoff dot, he sees nothing but Hobbs' numbers. Hobbs makes no sudden movement just prior to contact that turns this hit from a legal hit into an illegal one. The onus is on Shaw to make sure he can deliver this hit in a legal fashion, minimize the force or avoid this hit completely. Instead, he hits forcefully through Hobbs from behind, driving him dangerously into the glass."
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