Master agitator Marchand ready for apprentice Shaw

Master agitator Marchand ready for apprentice Shaw
June 11, 2013, 10:15 pm
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CHICAGO – It’s pretty clear that Brad Marchand has a not-so-secret admirer among the Chicago Blackhawks players.

Budding Chicago pest Andrew Shaw has made a name for himself in this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs by annoying opponents, instigating trouble and doing whatever it takes to invite mayhem into his games.

So it’s little surprise that the 21-year-old Blackhawks agitator says that he wants to be just like 25-year-old Brad Marchand when he’s all grown up.

“We’re both agitators,” Shaw said. “We both play physical and we’re always chirping. He’s perfected it and that’s what I’m trying to do to my game.

“We both walk a fine line and I’ve always looked up to him and admired him. It’s going to be great to actually play against him once.”

Shaw was four goals and seven points with 26 penalty minutes during the playoffs, and pales offensively to Marchand’s four goals and 13 points along with 16 PIMs and a plus-7 rating. One is a top-six scorer that’s proven himself, and has to pick his spots when he wants to stir things up.

Both have done an excellent job of distracting opponents over the last six weeks with Marchand’s piece de resistance coming against the Penguins: he distracted Matt Cooke and then beat him down the ice for a scoring wrist shot over Marc-Andre Fleury’s glove hand in Boston’s Game 2 blowout win. That was the perfect marriage of Marchand’s agitating and offensive abilities in one simple, beautiful, revenge-filled play.

It remains to be seen whether the two agitators will be out on the ice much against each other in the series, and it could be that part of Shaw’s mission is to get Marchand off his game.

But that wasn’t the case during Tuesday’s Stanley Cup Finals Media Day, and Marchand took Shaw’s complimentary words as the kind of compliment he doesn’t plan on hearing once the puck is dropped.

“What a nice guy he is,” said a smirking Marchand. “We all need to find something we’re good at coming into the league. That was a way for me to break in and it’s the same with him. He’s a good player. He’s come in and he’s playing hard.

“Watching games, [Shaw] is all over the place and getting some big goals, so that might just be something he needs to do to get in the league. We want to be better players than we do a pest, but you have to find something to do coming into the league.”

Marchand admitted he’s trying to get away from the pest tag, and knows that some of his agitating ways subtract from a guy talented enough to be a 30-goal scorer. But his Bruins teammates wouldn’t have it any other way, and it looks like the Nose Face Killah will be lined up with Pat Kane once the puck is dropped for Game 1 on Wednesday night.  

“[Marchand] is a great player. He led our team in goals this year, and he stepped up big in the last series coming up with big plays and big goals. He’s known to definitely get underneath his opponent’s skin, and I know Jonathan Toews played with him at World Juniors. So he knows a little bit of what Marchand brings to our team,” said Milan Lucic. “As much as other teams hate him, we love having him on our team. He does whatever it takes to win and he’s a team guy.

“[Chicago] has a guy in Andrew Shaw who is similar. If you look at his goals and way he’s scored, he’s definitely not afraid of going to those areas to get them. He won’t back down, and they’re a whole team that won’t back down.”

So it could be another rat-on-rat crime playoff series, but that would be old-hat to a guy like Marchand that isn’t above getting a little muddy when the Stanley Cup title is on the line.