Jun 1, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Patrick Sharp (10) celebrates his goal during the second period in game seven of the Western Conference Final of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Los Angeles Kings at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
With less than 50 days remaining until the start of the 2014-2015 season, it’s seems more and more likely that Patrick Sharp won’t be traded. If a deal was to be done for Sharp, it would have happened before the convention earlier this summer. Now with next season being the next exit on the highway, Patrick Sharp has to move away from the trade rumors and get to back to playing like he did last season.
Last year during the postseason, something was visibly wrong with Patrick Sharp. He wasn’t himself. He wasn’t playing like a man who played possessed in order to make Team Canada and he certain wasn’t playing like the team’s leading point man. Whether it was injury or just the engine running out of gas, it was a totally different Sharp.
And that play hurt the Blackhawks. They were missing a key cog in the machine that has won the Stanley Cup just two seasons ago. For the Hawks to return to hockey kingdom, Patrick Sharp needs to play an entire season the way he played last year’s regular season.
Sharp is on the wrong side of 30 (32 to be exact) and soon will be losing those legs that have made him so great. So with about 3-4 above average seasons left in the tank, Sharp needs to make every one of them count. He’s a got a great group of hockey players that know how to win and are hungry to win again.
A lot of criticism was put on Sharp because of that postseason play. Sharp can quickly silence the critics by coming out and performing well to start the season. Sustaining that success will be the difference maker. More rest may be in order for Sharp. Guys like Jeremy Morin and Ben Smith can surely pick up the workload if the Hawks need to give Sharp rest throughout the regular season. These guys are human and their bodies break down over time, rest can go a long way towards maximizing their remaining playing days.
Patrick Sharp has been a key to success here in Chicago. He’s a key to success over the course of the future. But he needs to play like last seasons Patrick Sharp. He also needs to make sure there’s gas left in the tank when it comes playoff time, because that’s when the more taxing games come around. And that’s when Patrick Sharp is needed the most.