The Sharp Shooter Stays

News just came down that Patrick Sharp has signed an extension for five more years after this season. So there you go folks, you don't have to be on Matt McClure Suicide Watch. Take it from me and a host of others, you wouldn't like it.

TSN's Bob McKenzie is reporting that the cap hit, which won't take affect this year, is $5.9 million. I have to admit to choking a bit when I saw that, as Sharp will be 34 when that contract expires. But then you get to thinking what Sharp is, and you wonder just how replaceable he is. Maybe I'm wrong, but in my hockey world players that can be simply deadly from the wing and then shift to center and apply an all-around game there, all the while being used on both special teams, are not players you simply let walk out the door. If you had to think of an NHL player who could do all of that for a reasonable rate, I'm all ears. Geno Malkin plays both, but he doesn't really play defense and costs a lot more. Pavel Datsyuk springs to mind as well, but he's on a lifetime deal and is obviously a different case altogether. Past that? Patrick Marleau? There was a time when he could claim all of this, but he hardly ever plays center anymore, and his defensive work has gone in the crapper. And he's older, and comes in at $6.9 million. The number is looking better and better. And i don't know that Sharp with a Thornton-like center for a full season wouldn't score 45 either.

And he was acquired for Matt Ellison. But that's ok Barry Rozner, Dale Tallon didn't have a clue what he was doing.

It's only a raise of 2 million I guess, although that could really mean anything when the new CBA is agreed, whenever that may be. But it's a huge distraction that the Hawks and Sharp won't have this season, and that can only be a good thing.

Yes, there are a couple things I'd like to see from Sharp this year. A return to the two-way game we saw his whole career before he and Kane embarked on the Good Time Boys act this past season. I'm sure we will get that. Also, and I'm just speculating here, but Sharp could be a bigger voice in the room. I know he wears an "A", but I didn't hear the alarm bells being rung by him that Brian Campbell was getting to. With 51 Phantom gone, Sharp takes on the elder leader role. Remember, he's got five-to-seven years on a lot of guys in that room, and I get the impression he could assert himself more. I know everyone would listen.

Oh, and the other thing Sharp has that Marleau probably doesn't? Balls. We've seen it too many times. It was Sharp willing that goal in Game 2 against Vancouver shorthanded in 2010. It was Sharp bagging the OT winner against Detroit the year before that. It was Sharp who anchored what was probably the Hawks most dangerous line during the Final (and Sharp's case for Conn Smythe that year could have been as strong as Toews's, really). And it was Sharp who dragged his one leg back out there this spring in order to help a fledgling team, even though it was pretty obvious he couldn't do much.

See how i wrote that and you could follow me feeling better by the end of the post? This is some wonderful therapy, no?