Watching #ShawFacts takeoff on Twitter and not missing a Hawks game while vacationing in Cancun via Sky tv (Mexican cable) and NHL.com has been quite the experience. Andrew Shaw has been proving himself to fans and the organization since he came up a couple weeks ago, but him continuing to score in recent games up till last night's game (against the Panthers) has been remarkable. It's due to his highly recognizable efforts and results that Hawks fans across the world took to Twitter to honor the super-rookie.
During Wednesday night's game against the Sabres when Shaw scored his 5th goal in 8 games and was robbed of an uncanny assist, #ShawFacts exploded on Twitter showcasing hilariously proposterous "facts" about Andrew Shaw ala Chuck Norris style jokes we've all become familar with. Frank Nova, aka "Fork Lift," a Chicago native, was the first to write a Tweet containing #ShawFacts, then they spread like wildfire. During Wednesday's game, impressed by Shaw and feeling funny, Nova tweeted "Andrew Shaw invented Kung Fu." He then tweeted "Andrew Shaw invented the Kama Sutra #ShawFacts." This hashtag placement paved the way for one of the biggest means of support for a Hawks player I've seen in my lifetime. While in Cancun I was able to conduct an email interview with Frank just before the Panthers game to find out exactly how #ShawFacts was born and to find out more about the man behind the Twitter trend. Nova is a writer for the hilarious hockey website hockeenight.com and you can follow him on Twitter @hockeenight.
When did you start your website?
We started Hockeenight in 2008 - CT and I were each thinking about starting one. The Blackhawks' blogosphere was basically The Third Man In, and Second City Hockey (which was run by somebody different than the guys who run it now). We saw we could pretty much do anything we wanted and have the niche all to ourselves...hello, hockey and boner jokes. We've also got the Hockeenight Puckcast, enjoyed by tens of listeners. We've also got Slaky who brings a very lush beard, and Morpheus our photoshop genious (the opposite of moran).
When did you get on Twitter?
I honestly couldn't tell you. It's been at least a couple years.
How long have you been a Hawks fan?
My dad took me to my first game in the 1966-67 season. Yeah, I'm, really old. When I was 16, we moved to NYC. At that point, I went to an awful lot of Ranger games. I moved back to Chicago about 6 years ago, and I was able to introduce my wife to the Blackhawks - her first game was Opening Night of the 2007-08 season - I wasn't taking her while Bill Wirtz was alive. Her introduction to the Hawks was seeing Dale Tallon give a eulogy that got booed, and Patrick Kane's first game in the UC, which he won by beating Dominic Hasek and the Red Wings in a shootout. She was hooked.
How did you get the idea to do the 1st Tweet with #ShawFacts?
I'd just done a piece for Hockeenight about the ever-growing cult of Shaw. He's off to a red-hot start, but the last Blackhawk to have a start like this was Igor Radulov in 2002-03. He got 5 goals in 7 games. You'll never see a Radulov sweater in the United Center. Still, I like the kid. He busts his ass. So when he scored the other night against Buffalo, I figured I'd just goof off a little, so first I just tweeted "Andrew Shaw invented Kung Fu." Now I'd had a really tough day at work, and was a little tired and punchy. So the next one I threw the #ShawFacts tag on - "Andrew Shaw wrote the Kama Sutra." Ask anyone who knows me - I'm never one to let a joke die young. So I wound up just throwing silly things out there, and a bunch of others got in on it.
Did you expect it to take off like this?
Like this? No. Nobody could. I figured it would be like the last time I kind of went off on a tangent like this was when Viktor Stalberg blew a 2-on-none breakaway, so that night I started #StalbergPorn in honor of his inability (up to that point) to score. So I started just using standard adult film plotlines (not that I've ever seen any of these myself, mind you), that didn't go anywhere - "You're lonely because your husband's out of town? You can use my miles for a plane ticket." #StalbergPorn - I knew this was cleaner, but when I woke up the next morning and saw that a) the Hawks page had some listed, and b) Andrew Shaw himself tweeted it, I was just shaking my head. Then, with everything else that's happened, the contest on CSN, another place selling shirts...I'm just happy that a lot of people are having an awful lot of fun with this. The whole reason we started Hockeenight was to have fun with hockey. This time, we got to take a lot of people on the ride with us.
Have other media or the Blackhawks contacted you yet?
Nah...in the Blackhawks' world we're pretty much the class clowns. Most people recognize that, and we're fine with it. I'll tell you two things that will always make me laugh - first was one time I had something in the Committed Indian, and my photo was in there. A friend of mine showed it to somebody who was sitting near us, and he pointed at the picture, then at me: "See this? That guy wrote this." The guy read about two paragraphs and handed it back. Then at last year's Blackhawks Convention, somebody tweeted, "Creepy - some 50 year old man just called Patrick Sharp 'Breathtaking'" Then somebody immediately tweeted "Must have been @Hockeenight." First of all, yes, I called Sharp breathtaking in front of about 2000 people. Secondly, I was only 48 at the time. Anyway, based upon these types of things, I wouldn't expect anyone to contact me. (Nova was contacted by Comcast SportsNet Chicago following this interview to arrange an appearance for early next week).
What do you think of Shaw's performance so far?
I like Shaw. I like guys who work hard. For old farts like me, I can drop the name Ken Linseman here. That's really who I keep thinking of when I watch Shaw play. Linesman's nickname was "The Rat", which is why I've never used that name in relation to Dave Bolland. Anyway, Linseman was little, gritty, and never stopped hitting and hustling. There are guys I see play, and they aren't working as hard as they should. It drives me crazy. I don't expect Shaw to rack up incredible amounts of goals or anything like that.
This is the same thing we saw with Ben Smith last year. A couple big goals, and everyone thought he was more than a fourth liner. These two guys will be real blood and guts guys for the Hawks. If they don't stick this season, they will next year.
Which ones (#ShawFacts) are your favorite?
I don't even know anymore. A bunch of people have done really funny ones. I'd love to see the Hawks compile them into a book to raise some dough for charity. I'm sure they'd move a few.