Blackhawks’ Patrick Sharp still producing, despite scoring drought
BY MARK LAZERUS email@example.com February 9, 2013 7:38PM
Patrick Kane (88) looks to Patrick Sharp after Kane scored on one of Sharp’s three assists Thursday. | Getty Images
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Updated: March 11, 2013 6:46AM
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The pass was so perfect and the goal so easy for Patrick Kane, all he could do after scoring was look across the goalmouth to Patrick Sharp and smile — a smile that said Kane was every bit as impressed as he was happy.
Sharp joked it was the first time Kane had ever told him, “Nice pass.”
“It kills me to say it, but he has become a better passer as time’s gone on,” Kane said with a smirk.
Good thing, too, because right now it seems Sharp would hit the post on a breakaway against an empty net. He’s stuck in a seven-game scoring drought.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever hit this many posts or crossbars or glove hands or whatever,” Sharp said after practice Saturday. “But I’m getting a few chances every game. That’s the main thing. If the chances run out, then I’ll be concerned.”
Sharp admitted to getting frustrated, but his angst is significantly lessened by the Blackhawks’ hot start. They’re 9-0-2 entering the game Sunday against the Nashville Predators, the sixth and final game of the road trip.
“The key things are I’m still producing offensively — I’m getting points — and the team’s playing well,” Sharp said. “That’s the main thing. If the team was losing games and the puck wasn’t going in for me, it’d be a lot more frustrating. But the fact that things are going well as a unit makes me feel good.”
Sharp has 11 points (two goals, nine assists) and is coming off a three-assist game in Phoenix. Coach Joel Quenneville called it Sharp’s best game, even though he dinged a couple more posts.
Kane might have been joking, but even in his 10th NHL season, Sharp said there’s always room to improve.
“When I first came into the league, I didn’t really know what type of player I was going to be,” he said. “I turned into kind of a shooter there for a few years. But now, it just seems like I’m satisfied making the right play. It doesn’t always have to be a shot on goal. I feel that’s a part of my game I’ve developed.”
That doesn’t mean Sharp, a three time 30-goal scorer, isn’t looking to score. He’s just a little “snakebit,” as Kane’s put it.
Sharp’s next goal will be his 196th, so don’t expect him to belly-flop across the ice or anything. Instead, just expect a big smile — this one, of relief.
“I don’t think I’ll ever do something like that unless it’s a big Stanley Cup goal or something,” he said. “But it’ll definitely feel good to get that next one, and I’m planning on getting it tomorrow.”