After missing over 14 months of action, Andrew Shaw is back.
The veteran forward joined the Chicago Blackhawks when the team opened their training camp earlier this week and took to the ice for the first time in over a year. The 29 year old was limited to just 26 games last season due to post-concussion symptoms, but he claims he's fully healthy now and is ready to start the season. But he admits that he wasn't always so sure that his NHL career would continue.
"It really was just committing to making sure I felt better," Shaw said to NBC Sports' Charlie Roumeliotis. "Whether or not I was going to play or not wasn’t my first goal. My first goal was to get better and feel like myself. ... Obviously there were times where it was tough and exhausting but grinded, grinded every day. Grinded months to a year to get where I am. It’s good to know I can get back to feeling good."
Now fully healthy, Shaw doesn't plan on making any changes to his playing style.
"Maybe fine-tweaking, but how I play is why I’m here," said Shaw. "I’m going to stick to that as best I can without putting myself in vulnerable situations. ... I can’t play scared. If I play scared, I’m just going to end up putting myself in vulnerable positions."
Shaw's coach, Jeremy Colliton, understands what Shaw brings to the roster and is happy to have the grittiness that Shaw is famous for back in his team's lineup.
"We’ve had a lot of talks through this process," Colliton said. "He wants to play and I understand that all too well myself. Taking the time off that he has, he seems to be very confident in his health and he’s put a lot of work in off and on the ice to prepare himself as best as he can to be a big part of our team. That just makes some happy. I’m happy for him, I’m proud of him."
Just how tough was life out of the bubble for Shaw last season? For a competitive guy like Shaw, it was as tough as gets but he always kept things in perspective.
"It was tough being away from the game and guys in the room, but to be able to spend that time with my family helped me push through this, helped me get better," Shaw said. "It let me see life without hockey and knowing that if anything happened to me, injury wise, I'm good. I'm OK without hockey. I'll survive. Andrew Shaw is not hockey. I have a life outside of hockey. I have a family, I have friends."
For the full article from Roumeliotis, click below: