UPDATE: The NHL announced on Wednesday afternoon that Andrew Shaw has been suspended for Game 5 because of the homophobic slur used in Game 4. Shaw was also fined $5,000 for flipping off the official after the penalty call. Shaw will be required to go through sensitivity training as a result of the suspension.
April 19, 2016
Game 4 Recap
The St. Louis Blues rallied back from a 2-1 deficit in the second period to eventually capture a 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks and take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. The Blackhawks will be facing elimination when they take on the Blues on Thursday night.
In order to avoid elimination, the Blackhawks will now have to win the next three straight games, two of which are on the road. The Blackhawks have been in this situation before. In 2013, the Blackhawks trailed the Red Wings in the series 3-1 and won three straight to move onto the Western Conference Final.
The Blues jumped out to a 1-0 lead after Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko beat Corey Crawford from the faceoff-dot. In the second period, the Blackhawks answered back after Andrew Shaw redirected a shot from Marian Hossa that tied the game.
Later on in the second period, Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford was ran into by Blues forward Robby Fabbri. Crawford took exception to this hit and went after Fabbri and exchanged a few punches back and forth before finally being separated by the officials. At the end of the scrum, the Blackhawks were left with a power play, which Duncan Keith converted on, to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead. Tarsenko would find the back of the net one more time with just over two minutes to play in the second period to tie the game at two goals each.
In the third period, the Blues scored 1:36 into the period on a writer from Jaden Schwartz that snuck past Crawford. A little over three minutes later, Alexander Steen stole a pass from Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk and beat Crawford on a breakaway to give the Blues a 4-2 lead in the game. The Blackhawks would make it 4-3 after a goal from Duncan Keith with under five minutes to play but the Blues held onto their lead and took a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Blackhawks.
Blackhawks' Shaw Faces Discipline
Late in the third period, Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw took an ill-advised cross-checking penalty in front of the net and left the Blackhawks short-handed for two minutes. While he was in the penalty box, camera crews picked up Andrew Shaw yelling a homophobic slur to someone (presumably the ref) on the ice. The video (without audio) can be seen here.
Now, let’s take a minute to dissect exactly what took place here. At this point in the game, the Blackhawks were trailing 4-3 and it was clear that they were frustrated.
The situation the Blackhawks were in was not good. They needed a goal, they needed a win, and it looked like they weren’t going to get either. Emotions were high. Tempers were flaring. But none of that justifies what Andrew Shaw said. None of that justifies the use of a homophobic slur in a sports culture where gay athletes already feel like they can’t express who they truly are.
The NHL has taken numerous steps over the last few years to help fight against discrimination regarding sexual orientation. Recently, the NHL partnered with the You Can Play project, whose mission statement reads, “The You Can Play Team believes athletes should be judged on talent, heart, and work ethic, not sexual orientation or gender identity.”
On April 5, the Chicago Blackhawks hosted “You Can Play Night” at the United Center. It was a night designed to demonstrate the Blackhawks support of this organization and to help raise awareness for the project. Two weeks later, a Blackhawks player uses a homophobic slur on the ice.
Obviously words are constantly exchanged on the ice. The biggest defense for Shaw has been the argument that words like that get said on the ice all the time and it was only a big deal because it was picked up by camera.
And you know what? They’re right. Stuff like that is said constantly on the ice. And that’s the problem. That’s what people are trying so hard to put an end to. When something like that is picked up on camera, something needs to be done about it.
Earlier this morning, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said that the league is looking into the incident with Andrew Shaw. If the NHL truly values the partnership they have with the You Can Play Project, then it’s time to step up and discipline Andrew Shaw for his comment.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Chicago Blackhawks and Andrew Shaw both release statements regarding the incident last night.
"I am sincerely sorry for the insensitive remarks that I made last night while in the penalty box. When I got home and saw the video, it was evident that what I did was wrong, no matter the circumstances. I apologize to many people, including the gay and lesbian community, the Chicago Blackhawks organization, Blackhawks fans and anyone else I may have offended. I know my words were hurtful and I will learn from my mistake."
"We are extremely disappointed in Andrew Shaw's actions last night. His comments do not reflect what we stand for as an organization. We are proud to have an inclusive and respectful environment, and to support various initiatives such as the You Can Play Project and the Chicago Gay Hockey Association. We will use this opportunity to further educate our players and organization moving forward, so that we all may learn from it."