On Sunday Patrick Sharp scored his first goal since January 24 against the LA Kings. Before that game when I read that Sharp had 30 points, 17 goals and 13 assists, in 25 career games against the Kings, I was cautiously optimistic that he would end his slump that night. I was so happy when that came to fruition.
Even though his pucks haven’t been getting into the net on a regular basis Sharp has still tallied 10 assists and has been putting the puck to the net often, they just haven’t found their way in for some reason. His performance thus far, even I will admit, has been less than the stellar play we have come to expect from Sharp Shooter. Thankfully our lines are all performing so well that his lack of goals hasn’t hurt the team so far. Sharp admitted that he wasn’t all that concerned about the drought because the team was excelling.
“And the team is winning. If we were losing it would be a different story. It's tough to complain when your team is undefeated,” Sharp told the Daily Herald.
There are some people who have been really harsh regarding Sharp lately. Some of the comments I have read and heard have been warranted. Yes, he absolutely should have been replaced in the shoot out line-up. He has not been performing up to par at all in that area. However, some others’ criticisms are a bit over the top and those people need to be reminded of how fantastic a player he really is and has been for this Hawks team.
First a disclaimer, yes I freely admit that I am a HUGE Sharp fan. He is a woman hockey fan favorite for obvious reasons. But his stunning looks aside, he has been one of the most productive and successful players on the Blackhawks since his arrival during the 2005-06 season. And one of the least recognized on a whole.
When one is on a team with the likes of young phenoms like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane and other internationally known names like Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith, it is easy to get lost in the shuffle. The organization tends to market the team on those names but Patrick Sharp’s contributions to this team are just as paramount as those previous listed.
According to the Fox Sports website Sharp is consistently better than league average in goals, assists and overall points. Not to mention that in the 2010-2011 season he scored 71 points in 74 games which placed him third on the team for most points, even with an injury. In that same year he was named MVP of the All-Star Game after originally being left off the ballot.
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bothered by it," Sharp told the Chicago Sun Times then about missing the ballot. "It was motivation to play well and I really can't argue with it. The Blackhawks have a ton of big names and great players and a lot of guys that deserve to be here.”
That quote shows his true character. Not only is he an amazing hockey player, he is a class act. He proved that too when he gave his brother the car the league awarded him for winning MVP. The 2010-2011 season was an all around amazing year for Sharp and included the ultimate prize of bringing the Stanly Cup back to Chicago.
The following year he was set to become an unrestricted free agent and my nerves were shot. With all the changes that were coming due to salary caps, I had no fingernails left from biting them all off; I was truly terrified of a Sharp trade. Then that August the Hawks signed him to a five-year, $29.5 million dollar extension. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Sharp didn’t get complacent after that big contract though, he kept up the hard work, and although the team didn’t get far in the playoffs, he scored 69 points that year, even after an emergency appendectomy early in the season.
Sharp often scores goals in streaks, so it is inevitible that goals will soon follow. We must remain positive; remember all of his past successes, realize the present slump is but a fleeting moment and believe the goals are coming soon. So in the spirit of fairness to those who are being extra hard on Shooter right now, cut the guy some slack, if not because he is a fantastic, dedicated player or an all around classy guy than because he is also hotter than hell.