Jun 2, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Patrick Sharp (10) talks with media during media day the day before the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
After their Game two loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Patrick Sharp stood their faced the music with the media. Sharp did not shy away from it. Sharp had committed two costly penalties that cost the Blackhawks the lead and ultimately the game. Sharp shouldered the blame for the loss. (It wasn’t all his fault. See Corey Crawford‘s stat line). The Blackhawks return home to the United Center tied at one game apiece. With the nuclear option of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Brandon Saad not producing any goals in this series, the Blackhawks need scoring from other players. The Blackhawks need Sharp to step up. Sharp has been VERY QUIET in these playoffs. In the last two playoffs, the Blackhawks have been able to count on Sharp for a CLUTCH goal when needed. This year has been a different story.
Sharp has had a trying year this season. Sharp only appeared in 68 games this season, his lowest since 2008-09. He was a -8 rating, which is the lowest since 2010-10, when he was a -1. Last season, Sharp had a career high 78 points (34 goals and 44 assists). This season was one of the worst in his NHL career. Sharp had 16 goals and 27 assists for 43 points. That was his lowest output since 2008-09. Basically, Patrick Sharp was not very good this season. Not only has Sharp’s play on the ice suffered but off the ice issues have also affected his play on the ice. Rumors surfaced about his personal life during the season that looked to tear the Blackhawks apart. Thankfully the Blackhawks and Sharp are a resilient team and were able to rise above it.
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Now once again Sharp is facing adversity this season. The Blackhawks need sharp to rediscover his goal scoring touch. Over the last two playoffs, Sharp has not been able to duplicate his 2012-13 playoff production. In the 2012-13 playoffs, Sharp scored 10 goals and 6 assists. His ten goals tied Conn Smythe winner Patrick Kane for the most on the Blackhawks. Since 2012-13 Sharp has 9 goals and 14 assists, while he has gotten more assists. His goal number has not eclipised his 10 goals in 2012-13.
With the Blackhawks up against the salary cap next season and Sharp probably being traded. Would it not be fitting that he ends his tenure with another Stanley Cup Championship? If Sharp and the Blackhawks hope to realize that dream, Sharp needs to start scoring NOW.
The Blackhawks will take on the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 at the United Center. The game will start at 7pm Central time.
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