Patrick Sharp was a Chicago Blackhawk for 10 years. That's a long time to stay in one place, that's a long time to play for one team. Particularly a team you helped big time, there every step along the way as it rose from bottom feeder to perennial champion.
But Sharp isn't a Blackhawk anymore, and last night was the first time he played against his former teammates, saw Hawks jerseys but wasn't wearing one himself. He's a division rival now. New team, new goals... same friends.
And apparently, it wasn't easy on him. Sure, he scored to increase the Dallas Stars' lead just 11 seconds into the third, and he was likely extremely happy for the win - but those were still his friends he was defeating.
Patrick Sharp: "It really wasn't that fun of a game. It's tough to play against your friends." #Blackhawks— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) December 23, 2015
Patrick Sharp: "Hockey's a game you play with a lot of intensity, and that's hard to do against your buddies." #Blackhawks— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) December 23, 2015
I would assume the first one is always the hardest, but Sharp (and Johnny Oduya, for that matter) still have actual returns to Chicago to look forward to on Feb. 11. That'll probably be another emotional day - but hopefully one a little easier on him, and, well, one that goes better for those who are still Blackhawks.