-- Chicago's Patrick Sharp
certainly didn't lack motivation for the 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover.
He wasn't included on the All-Star Ballot, falling victim to a Chicago Blackhawk roster that is loaded with superstars. That slight fueled him to the best first-half performance of his career and he carried that chip down to Carolina for the All-Star Game this weekend.
Yet, that slight wasn't even his biggest motivation to do well Sunday.
Instead, his desire to please his parents -- who drove through the night Friday after their flight from Newark to Raleigh was cancelled -- pushed him to turn in a memorable performance.
"I didn't want to let them down," Sharp said. "I'm glad I can bring the trophy home."
Well, winning the MVP award of the 2011 NHL All-Star Game -- which includes a brand-new Honda Crosstour EX-L as a prize -- certainly rewarded the extraordinary effort of his parents, who befriended some other stranded flyers and shared an eight-hour minivan ride that stretched from late Friday night into Saturday morning.
"I know that my dad and my brother will be fighting over the car." Sharp said with a smile. "So we'll see who wins that."
Sharp won the MVP award despite being on the losing side as Team Staal dropped a wild 11-10 decision to Team Lidstrom at a raucous RBC Center.
Sharp had two goals and an assist but fell victim to the greatest comeback in the history of the All-Star Game as team Lidstrom erased a 4-0 lead.
"I thought we won the game," Sharp said laughing.
And, Chicago teammate Jonathan Toews
had no problem with a member of the losing team claiming the MVP hardware.
"I think the MVP went to the hardest worker today, that's for sure," Toews said. "Although we did think it would be funny there at the end of Loui Eriksson could have gotten two empty-net goals at the end for the hat trick and steal the car from him. It's good for him, but he deserved it."
Sharp and the rest of the Chicago Blackhawks all deserved props for their performances Sunday.
Sharp may have won the car and a nice trophy for his efforts, but Patrick Kane
, Duncan Keith
and Toews were the Blackhawk contingent on the winning team.
So, who has bragging rights during the long flight home to Chicago?
That seemed to a point of contention after the game.
"I think the winning team always gets bragging rights," said Keith. "But, he had a great game and he's a great player. I'm happy for him to get that car. He seems to be getting more and more recognition -- especially this year. It's good to see that because he works so hard and he cares a lot and he deserves it."
But, Kane thinks Sharp can pound his chest on the flight home.
"I think MVP is probably the best," Kane said. "That's pretty cool. I think that is what every player comes into this game wanting to win. But, we'll take the win."
Even Sharp wasn't sure where he stood in the MVP vs. game-winner debate.
"They won the game and I got the trophy, so I guess everybody is happy," Sharp said.
Despite his mixed feelings on the All-Star Game, Sharp admitted he might let a few jabs fly on the flight home.
"I'll be sure to bring (the MVP) up a few times," he said.
He certainly has earned that right this year.
Author: Shawn P. Roarke | NHL.com Senior Managing Editor