Patrick Sharp sticks up for his buddy Patrick Kane
BY BEN MEYER-ABBOTT firstname.lastname@example.org May 31, 2012 10:40PM
Patrick Sharp (right) isn’t worried about Patrick Kane and says he has a good head on his shoulders. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: July 6, 2012 10:14AM
Count Patrick Sharp among those who have Patrick Kane’s back after the younger Pat’s escapades this offseason.
While speaking with the media at an appearance at a grade school in La Grange Park, Sharp said he wasn’t worried about Kane’s offseason activities and the ensuing media firestorm after photos of the Blackhawks star partying and apparently drunk surfaced on the Internet shortly after the Hawks were bounced from the playoffs.
“I think it’s more of a personal matter, to be honest with you, as far as everything that he’s dealing with,” Sharp said Thursday at the St. Louise De Marillac School. “It’s better that he answers those questions. He’s my friend, he’s my teammate, I love the guy, and I’m going to be behind him no matter what.”
The two are close, and Sharp, 30, has said he and Kane, 23, have spoken many times about the responsibilities that go with being a professional athlete.
“We talk all the time about what it is to be a professional and how to carry yourself, and I think a guy like Kaner, he knows that,” Sharp said. “It’s just that he finds himself getting his picture taken because of who he is. There’s nothing that I’m going to say to him that is going to help him. He’s a kid with a good head on his shoulders, and I’m not worried about him. … For the amount of success he’s had at such a young age, he’s handled it pretty good.”
Sharp’s public backing comes on the heels of general manager Stan Bowman expressing his disappointment with how Kane’s weekend in Madison, Wis., during Cinco de Mayo played out and the scrutiny it engendered.
Regardless, Sharp said Kane’s off-ice activities aren’t a distraction.
“I don’t think that people’s off-ice things can distract [from] what happens inside a locker room,” Sharp said. “There’s a lot going on whether it’s that situation or someone’s personal family issues. There’s a lot of things that happen throughout the course of a year. You’ve got to remember that your teammates are your family, and that’s the biggest thing.”
Sharp, who said he won’t need offseason surgery for his left wrist after playing the second half of the season with a broken bone, also commented on the subtraction of someone from the Hawks’ “family.”
Sharp was in Finland playing for Canada at the world championships when assistant coach Mike Haviland, a favorite of many of the players, was fired and said he found out the news on Twitter.
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville, who made the decision to cut ties with Haviland after his lackluster results directing the power play and penalty kill, said after letting him go that there had been “dysfunction” among his coaching staff.
But if that was the case, it was news to Sharp.
“If there was, the players didn’t sense it,” Sharp said. “I thought they did a good job of hiding it. Those are all professional coaches in that room who do a good job of relaying messages to players, preparing us to play, and I didn’t know any of that.”