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Sharp: Trade to Stars 'reignites passion to play'

by Steve Hunt

DALLAS -- Patrick Sharp is the type of player the Dallas Stars felt they needed if they are to take the next step in becoming a perennial Stanley Cup contender, so they went and got him in a July 10 trade with the Chicago Blackhawks.

"When you win Stanley Cups, you do things right on the ice, you do things right off the ice and you do things right in the community. It's hard to find those type of players," Dallas general manager Jim Nill said Monday at Sharp's introductory press conference at American Airlines Center. "We think that [Sharp] is going to be a great addition for us.

"We've got a young core here. I know they're going to learn from him, and he's going to be a great addition for us."

The Stars acquired Sharp, who won the Stanley Cup three times in the past six seasons with Chicago, and defense prospect Stephen Johns from the Blackhawks for defenseman Trevor Daley and forward Ryan Garbutt.

The Blackhawks played into mid-June to win the Cup for the third time, but Sharp said the trade will help him feel refreshed come training camp in September.

"Anytime you play deep into a regular season or playoffs, you hear the term 'Stanley Cup hangover' or 'short summer effect,' but being traded, especially coming to a team like Dallas, with so many young players and enthusiasm, it kind of reignites the passion to play hockey," the 33-year-old left wing said. "I'm excited to join this group. I know from playing against them in the Central Division, they're very difficult to play against and they're a team that is improving in a lot of different areas, so for me to come down here and be a part of that in any way, I'm very excited."

Sharp had 43 points (27 assists) and led the Blackhawks with eight power-play goals in 68 games last season, then had five goals and 10 assists in 23 playoff games. He has scored 20 or more goals in seven seasons, including four 30-goal seasons.

Besides Sharp's championship pedigree, Nill also likes that his newest addition is a strong two-way player, something Dallas coach Lindy Ruff expects from his entire roster.

"The Chicago Blackhawks have not won three Cups in the last six years because [individuals] have played the way they wanted to play," Nill said. "They all bought into playing the right way, and that's how we're going to play.

"Lindy Ruff has already talked to the players, they know what they have to do. When we play the right way, we're going to be successful and the players know that. Patrick's going to be part of that, his leadership's going to help with that, so we're excited about that move."

Nill and Sharp each acknowledged that there will be high expectations for the Stars after the trade, which saw Daley leave after his best offensive season (16 goals, 22 assists) in 11 with Dallas. Neither is shying away from those.

"Expectations are something that really isn't anything new to me as a player," Sharp said. "The organization that I'm coming from set high expectations and standards right from Day One of training camp, and that filters down through the players as individuals as well. It doesn't matter what team I'm playing for, I'm proud to be here. I'm proud to be a Star and my expectations are going to be just as high as they always have."

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