Andrew Shaw has been his own harshest critic lately.
Not scoring on even a semi-regular basis and not being your usual feisty self will do that to a guy.
Shaw knew he had to break out of his funk ... and soon.
Playing on the second line alongside Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad for the first time Sunday against Edmonton proved to be just the tonic for the young center, who opened the night with a big hit, broke a long goal drought in the second period, and was noticeable from the opening drop until the final horn in the Blackhawks' 5-3 victory.
"I needed that big-time," Shaw admitted afterward. "I was down on myself, was hard on myself. My confidence wasn't high.
"Coming in (before the game) and seeing I was playing with Kaner and Saad -- two great players -- I knew I had to go out there and work as hard as I could ... and I got one. It felt good to get that monkey off my back."
His coach seemed just as relieved to see the spark back in Shaw's step.
"He got into the game right away with a big hit, scored a big goal," Joel Quenneville said. "I thought that line was dangerous, a lot of different looks with the puck off the entries and in the zone that they generated."
"For their first time together for a whole game they gave us a different look as a team."
Quenneville's line mixology Sunday resulted in the scoring being spread out throughout the lineup rather than the majority of it coming from the top line of Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp as has been the case recently.
"I thought all the lines were pretty good, to be honest," said Kane, who had 2 assists against the Oilers. "Obviously Tazer's line has been on fire. Besides that, we really haven't had too much production the last little while.
"It was nice to get some production and score some goals out there."
On Sunday, Shaw replaced Marcus Kruger, who replaced Michal Handzus for one game as the Hawks' eternal quest to find a second-line center rolls along.
Asked if he would like to continue playing alongside Kane, Shaw broke into a big grin.
"Why wouldn't I?" he said. "He's a great player. I'd love to play with him."
And if indeed that proves to be the case for at least the foreseeable future, Shaw knows exactly what his marching orders will be.
"Get him the puck and get open," he said. "He knows what to do, he makes the right plays. As long as I work for him he's going to work for me as well."
Looks like Quenneville is willing to give it a whirl.
"More likely, yeah," the coach said. "He took advantage of it. That line was dangerous. He's got a couple of nice wingers that hang on to the puck and can do a lot of things with it.
"I think defensively, as a line, if they take care of business, it has the makings of a real solid line for us."