Dec 27, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Patrick Sharp (10) during the game against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
2. Patrick Sharp is on track. Patrick Sharp played in his 700th career game on Monday night. He would probably be the first person to tell you he’s disappointed with his season thus far. But taking all things into consideration, Sharpie’s actually looking pretty good. He currently has 6 goals and 11 assists (17 points) for the season. This is 9th on the team, when last year he was at the top. But because of injury, he’s also only played in 23 of 37 games. To put this in perspective, Brad Richards is just above Sharp with 7 goals and 12 assists, good for 19 points (2 more than Sharp). But he’s played in 34 games, 11 more than Sharp.
Because of his injury and Coach Quenneville not wanting to break up his top 2 lines, Patrick Sharp has found himself the odd man out. He went from skating on the first line with Toews and Hossa, to the third line with Shaw and Bickell. With Richards out for a few games, he was able to skate on the second line with Saad and Kane. But the latter half of Saturday’s game and the beginning of Monday’s game he played on the fourth line with Krueger and Smith. At the end of the game, he was back on the third line. That’s a lot of line blending for a guy who’s also trying to get his rhythm back after being out.
Perhaps all that line blending is why Sharp has become somewhat of a power play specialist. This is where he has some consistency. He mans the point on the first power play unit, and 5 of his 6 goals have been scored with the man advantage. So let’s look for continued success on the power play, a consistent line, and more even strength goals for Sharpie. Barring further injury, I predict a very solid year for Patrick Sharp.
1. Winning ways. The Chicago Blackhawks are now 25-10-2 on the season, good for 52 points. They are the only team in the league to have 25 wins, and only the Anaheim Ducks are above them in points, with 54 (they’ve also played one more game). The Hawks have won 2 big games in a row, and 5 of their last 7.
They currently lead the Central Division, having just beaten the second place Nashville Predators, who have 49 points. But the Preds have also played 2 less games than the Hawks, and the third place St. Louis Blues have 47 points and have played 1 less game. These 2 teams are still right on the Blackhawk’s heels. They might be sitting pretty right now, but this is no time for the Hawks to stop their winning ways.
Bring on the Winter Classic! Have a safe and Happy New Year’s everyone! For more Blackhawks updates and conversation follow us on Twitter @Blackhawk_Up or Like our Facebook page at Blackhawkup.