For his own sake, Blackhawks’ Andrew Shaw needs to retire

Andrew Shaw #65, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
Andrew Shaw #65, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Andrew Shaw has posted on social media that he will not be returning to the Chicago Blackhawks for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Let’s be clear, the Chicago Blackhawks’ Andrew Shaw is done. Not just for this season, as reported by SportsNet, but done for good. The scrappy Chicago Blackhawks’ forward probably will have to hang up his skates.

Sadly, this has been a long time coming. Shaw is a fearless player, but his style of play is not the kind of thing that generally leads to long careers.

He has taken an incredible amount of abuse over the years and somehow has managed to keep coming back. He announced he’d be back via a post on Instagram, but we’ll have to wait and see how that plays out.

His message is undoubtedly positive, and he wants to come back. He’s been a battler his whole career, but this injury may finally be what ends his career.

None of this talk is recent, and people have been speculating on his health for years.

An article from a Montreal newspaper looked back on Shaw’s time in Montreal, and how seeing him traded back to the Blackhawks was probably a shrewd move due to health concerns.

Last season, Shaw was the Canadiens’ nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which goes to an NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey. After the announcement, Shaw said he didn’t know how many concussions he had suffered during his hockey career, but figured he had three or four in the NHL.

"“Today, there’s still a lot to learn (about concussions), obviously,” Shaw said at the time. “In the back of your head that’s always there that you might never be able to play hockey again.”"

And that’s where we are now.

Sadly, Shaw even admitted to trying to conceal concussions from spotters. He’s known that he has taken a lot of nasty abuse and tried to hide it so that he could keep playing.

"“I took a slap shot [it was a wrist shot] to the face in 2013 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final and I knew right away I wasn’t right,” he said. He missed a few shifts and went on to play 10 minutes of that game, which was consistent with the ice time he was allotted throughout that run with the Chicago Blackhawks.“You go in, you lie to the doctors, you tell them what you need to say to get back out there,” Shaw said. “You’re the only one that knows what’s going on upstairs in your head, it’s not something a doctor can see.“They put you through the protocol and you focus to make sure you pass every protocol you can. All of us, not just me, we’re all hockey players; we have that nature of wanting to play, wanting to be there for the team. We don’t want to miss games and we push ourselves so hard to make sure we’re not missing games. I would come in and try to act normal just to get by and I’d go home and keep everything to myself. You tell everyone you’re feeling fine, but deep down you know there’s something wrong with you.”"

Blackhawks fans will likely remember that shot to the face. It looked bad at the time and hearing Shaw recount that moment in the game, it was as bad as it looked.

If we’re talking about that Stanley Cup Final against the Bruins, we’re now going back SEVEN years in Shaw’s career to talk about his concussion history.

I can’t even believe he’s still playing. He’s not that old, and to put some perspective on this, Phillip Danault was also selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2011 draft. Shaw was taken in the fifth round, and Danault was taken in the first round.

However, Shaw’s style of play may be forcing him out of the game, while Danault is just peaking now. Shaw’s tenacity is the stuff of legends, but at what point is it simply enough?

Shaw’s decision-making has been questionable. Let’s hope he does the right thing, and retire. As much as his team loves him, his family needs him more, and intact.

Related Story. Concussions aren't the only health concerns players might have. light

Stepping away wouldn’t tarnish his legacy, and for medical reasons, it would be the right thing to do. Shaw has nothing left to prove anyway. He’s already a champion.