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At the Rink blog

Sharp has been a major plus for Blackhawks

Tuesday, 03.20.2012 / 4:22 PM

By Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Sharp has been a major plus for Blackhawks
COLUMBUS -- It was a sore subject for Patrick Sharp most of last season and it didn't end up quite the way he wanted.

Sharp had a minus rating next to his name for most of the 2010-11 season and finished minus-1, as the Chicago Blackhawks tried to defend their Stanley Cup championship with almost half of the title-winning roster scattered across the League after a salary-cap related sell-off.

Sharp also injured his knee in the latter stages of the season, just as he was getting into a groove as the team's top goal scorer. He finished with a minus rating for just the second time in his seven-year NHL career, after posting a plus-24 in the Cup winning season

"Yeah, it bothers you," Sharp told NHL.com on Tuesday. "I think I was minus-1 last year and it would've been nice to be even, but at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter. [Hawks coach Joel Quenneville] trusts me in a lot of different situations, whether I'm minus-10 or plus-20, so that's the main thing and I want to make sure I keep that trust."

He's certainly doing a good job of it.

Heading into Tuesday night's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena  (7 p.m.), Sharp is leading Chicago in the rating category at plus-24 despite yet another extended injury absence for a broken wrist.

"It's just one of those weird stats," Sharp said. "I don't think I'm doing anything different than I was last year. Sometimes you get in a rut where you're out there for goals you can't do anything about, and I don't know if it really reflects too much [on the player]. This year, more than anything, I've been scoring five-on-five and that makes a big difference."

That's because pluses and minuses are not assessed during special teams play and Sharp is a power-play regular.

"Last year, a lot of the offense came from the power play and you don't get the pluses there, so that could be a reason," he said of his minus-rating. "But I like to think of myself as a two-way player and Joel brings the best out of players that way."
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I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

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