This feature is excerpted from the newest issue of Blackhawks Magazine, the official game program of the Chicago Blackhawks. You can get your copy at all Blackhawks home games.
Were the Blackhawks’ locker room a comedy club, it seems that Patrick Sharp
would perennially play Rodney Dangerfield: immensely talented, immeasurably charismatic and usually the player who “gets no respect.”
This season, six Blackhawks made the official 2011 All-Star Fan Ballot. So how does a seventh Blackhawk, one not even in consideration for the All-Star team in November, end up winning the game’s most valuable player award in January? Simply by doing what he’s done all season.
“[Sharp’s] one of the most underrated players in the league,” teammate and fellow All-Star Patrick Kane
said. “He’s definitely making a name for himself with the playoff run last year, and he’s having a great year this year too. It’s good for him; he deserves [the recognition].”
The Blackhawks faithful, who have watched the 29-year-old Thunder Bay, Ontario, native since his acquisition in 2005, know how integral Sharp is to their hometown team. They understand his importance and leadership inside the dressing room as well as on the ice. They’ve watched him climb up the franchise’s career all-time scoring list. They watched him hoist the Stanley Cup as an alternate captain.
But when you share a dressing room with the reigning Norris Trophy winner, the reigning Conn Smythe winner and the guy who scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal, it makes it all the more difficult to get your fair share of the attention. So Sharp made himself an All-Star the only way he knew how: by scoring goals in bunches. By the time the rosters were announced, only Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby had lit the lamp more frequently.
“I guess I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bothered by it,” Sharp admitted after the game, with his MVP award perched on the table in front of him. “But it was motivation to play well this year, and I really can’t argue with it. The Blackhawks have a ton of big names and great players and a lot of guys deserve to be here. So I’m proud to be a Blackhawk in the All-Star Game, and things worked out.”
“He seems to be getting more and more recognition, especially this year,” Duncan Keith
said. “It’s good to see that because he works so hard, and he cares a lot and deserves it."