BLOG: Shaw stood up to see Richardson named Blackhawks head coach


If you want to know what kind of coach the Blackhawks are getting in Luke Richardson, just ask a fan favorite who played for the now 53-year-old bench boss during his time in Montreal.

“Honestly, when I heard they were asking permission to talk to him (for the role), I was hoping they would (hire) him,” said 2018-19 Canadiens member Andrew Shaw during the Richardson’s first game. season as an assistant there. “I saw him, being a player under him, how good a coach he can be… I loved my experience with him. I thought it was great. I thought he was great.”

Although Richardson largely handled the defensive side of the team and worked with the penalty kill unit, the former Blackhawks forward said his impact on the Montreal squad as a whole was undeniable.

“From what I’ve seen, our PK has improved and I think our defenseman has been playing this strong, tough, tough style of hockey,” Shaw said. “He taught young people how to defend and I thought it was huge for some of the young defensemen to be able to have a coach who played over 1,400 games in the NHL, coached a group as well. . Honestly, it was great to have. He wasn’t quiet, but he just had this presence of, you know, people respected him. But he also had fun with the guys. He was joking around, which made the room kind of lighter. .”

As a former player, Shaw said Richardson knows the times to throw a friendly verbal jab at the often outspoken winger.

“He loves fitness a lot. He’s been in the gym before the guys even hit the rink,” Shaw explained. “But he always gave me a hard time because I had taken my shirt off in the locker room walking around and he said, ‘If you want to take your shirt off that much, you better go a little further to the gymnasium. “

Richardson is naturally a structured and defensive-minded coach, but also knows how to let skillful players up front have control to play their game as well.

“He’s going to teach structured play, but have that flexibility to be creative,” Shaw offered. “He was at the back. He could see his attackers being creative, and you need that, but with that you need a particular defensive structure and I think he’s going to grow the young prospects who come to Chicago because he’s done it time and time again. . He knows what it takes to win. He knows what it takes to compete day to day. I think he’s going to be great, not just for the young guys, but I think even for some of the older veteran defenders (too).

His 1,417 regular season games as a player – the 10th most in NHL history for a defenseman, spanning 21 seasons and six franchises – have shaped a unique vision of the game for Richardson and bring a level appreciation from everyone in the room, whether you’re a rising rookie or a longtime veteran.

“He’s a coach you can’t ignore and think you know better,” he said. “He’s got respect. He’s played 1,400 games – and he’s played 1,400 tough games, like he’s not a soft player. He played hard, he was physical, so he knows how hard that is. can be painful. He knows how mentally, physically drained you are. So I think as a player, playing for someone like that, the respect you have for him, you just have to ‘Listen, you have to accept what he says because he’s been there on both ends as a player and a coach.’

Before our conversation was over, Shaw couldn’t help but repeat one last time that Chicago had found the right guy to lead the team into a new era.

“I’m screwed,” he said. “I’m very excited for the Blackhawks players and the Blackhawks fans that he will be here next year.”

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