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Trade Coverage

Patrick Sharp, Johnny Oduya try to block out rumors

Stars veterans 'just play the game' with NHL Trade Deadline nearing

by Sean Shapiro / Correspondent

FRISCO, Texas -- For Dallas Stars forward Patrick Sharp, having a clear mind is the secret to surviving the NHL Trade Deadline. 

Sharp, 35, said that when he was younger, speculation and reports would weigh on his mind, but that he has learned to ignore it all and focus on his game. 

"There was definitely a time that I let that stuff affect my play and affect my mindset," Sharp said after practice Monday. "I've learned that it doesn't do a player any good to hear that stuff good or bad, you understand what's truth and what's real. And you just play the game."

Sharp and Stars defenseman Johnny Oduya are fighting that mental battle right now as pending unrestricted free agents with the trade deadline approaching at 3 p.m. ET on March 1. 

The Stars, nine points out of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference, traded Patrick Eaves, another pending unrestricted free agent, to the Anaheim Ducks for a conditional 2017 second-round draft pick Friday. 

Video: DAL@NSH: Sharp sweeps a rebound into the cage for PPG

"Obviously management and decisions is out of my hands, that's something I'm not going to worry about too much," Oduya said. "I'm not going to deny I know what's going on in this league and how things work. But when that day comes or not, I'll be prepared for that either way."

Oduya returned to the lineup in a 6-3 loss against the Boston Bruins on Sunday after missing 15 games with an ankle injury. He has seven points (one goal, six assists) in 37 games this season.

"I didn't expect to come out and be 100 percent today," Oduya said after the game. "I want to be as good as I can every day and move forward. That's the only thing I have in my mind. Compete and play hard for my teammates."

Sharp, who has 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 36 games this season, said dealing with the trade deadline is one of the difficult parts of being a professional athlete. He has been traded twice in his NHL career but not near the deadline.

"We've got an unbelievable job," Sharp said. "If there is one negative it's situations like this, because it affects family life and more than hockey comes into play. Playing in a big market in Chicago for a number of years, [I know] there a number of distractions that you learn to deal with."

Video: DAL@LAK: Oduya puts backhander in through traffic

Stars coach Lindy Ruff said he also avoids the rumors and reports about possible trades and trusts that the Stars will concentrate on their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at American Airlines Center on Tuesday (8:30 p.m. ET; FS-SW, ROOT, NHL.TV). 

"Focus on what you need to do, focus on your own play. You can't control anything outside of that," Ruff said. "Veteran guys already know. They've been here, they've been through it all before, and it's usually veteran guys or unrestricted free agents that are involved in it and they've been there and done that, so to spend any time on it for me, I think that the little time of practice time and the little time we get with players is spent on trying to get them better, not dealing with what people are saying or whether you're going to be traded."

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