With the season now over after a return to the playoffs and the Western Conference Finals, we're looking back at each player who wore the Indian Head sweater for the 08-09 Season and grading their performance. Now things take a turn for the sexy with Patrick Sharp.
#10 / Right Wing / Chicago Blackhawks
Dec 27, 1981
Cap Hit - $3.9 million through '11/'12
|2008 - Patrick Sharp||61||26||18||44||6||41||9||0||4||1||184||14.1|
The Good - At the outset of the season, many of the beat reporters of the local papers ran stories of Sharp stating that he came into camp with an even bigger chip on his shoulder this year, looking to disprove the critics that said he was a one year wonder coming off of his career high of 36 goals in 2007-2008, as well as showing that he deserved his new long term paper. Sharp came out flying, with 19 goals and 10 assists by Boxing Day, with a penchant for scoring key goals at clutch times, as noted by his 5 game winning/tying tallies. His performance was even starting to generate rumblings that Sharp deserved a trip to Montreal for the All Star game over teammates Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane. A Valentine's Day knee-to-knee hit with Steve Ott then caused Sharp to miss 21 games, and was a factor in the March Death Spiral. Once returning from injury (in theatrical fashion, with two goals against L.A. in his first game back) after missing a month and a half, Sharp really came back to life in the playoffs. His two goals sparked the comeback in game 2 in Vancouver, and his line, along with Ben Eager and Adam Burish performed quite well, despite it being a somewhat unusual grouping. And of course, Sharp sent the UC faithful spilling onto Madison St. happy in what ended up being the Hawks' final win of the season.
The Bad: As has been the knock on Sharp, he is a streak scorer, and the aforementioned hot streak to start the year came to a grinding halt at the end of December, exactly the time that Patrick Kane was fighting through his high-ankle sprain. Which leads me to another negative- his inability to create his own shot. As a natural finisher with a knack for finding a soft spot in the defense, Sharp functions best with someone there to deal him the puck. While the stories all link the wunderkinder(proper german?) of Toews and Kane together, it's truly Kane and Sharp that have the offensive chemistry as the playmaker and the sniper. Additionally, Sharp scored zero shorthanded goals this year, in contrast to his league-leading 7 the year previous. However, this is more of a result of not being asked to kill penalties as frequently under Coach Q.
Playoff Beard Strength - Noticable, but thin in places, as if mother nature simply won't allow his delicate features to be covered by unkempt facial hair.
Nicknames: Sharpie, Shooter, Uterus Killer
The Grade: There's a reason they play a full 82-game season, and unfortunately Sharpie just tends to get disappear from the score sheet for games at a time. Though the hot start was truly something to behold, causing this particular Kool-aid drinker and Sharp sweater owner to wax grandiose of 50-goal seasons, the drought is a blemish on an injury shortened season. His playoff performance certainly was a return to form, but the grade I'm settling on is a B. What say you?