Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Sharp Leaves Long-Lasting Legacy

By Sean Fitzgerald
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 06: Patrick Sharp
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 06: Patrick Sharp /
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CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 06: Patrick Sharp
CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 06: Patrick Sharp /

Patrick Sharp’s legacy with the Chicago Blackhawks will not soon be forgotten as he finished up his storied career over the weekend

In sports, it is rare for a player to go out the way he or she wants. Patrick Sharp was afforded that chance over the weekend with the Chicago Blackhawks. Sharp was able to hear the cheers of the United Center faithful one last time before he rode off into the sunset.

I had the opportunity to attend Friday night’s game and I said this before leaving that was the most fun I had while attending a loss. The Blackhawks gave a touching video tribute to Sharp on the big screen. It documented his growth in the Blackhawks organization. It also showed how far the Blackhawks organization his come since Sharp’s arrival.

While everyone can agree the ‘Hawks “dynasty” was kicked off with the arrival of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Joel Quenneville, let’s not discount Sharp’s part in all of the Blackhawks’ recent glory. Without Sharp’s play during the dynasty years, the Hawks would not be three-time Stanley Cup champions during the Kane and Toews era.

Sharp’s arrival in Chicago

Sharp was traded to the Blackhawks in 2005 along with Eric Meloche for Matt Ellison and a third-round pick in 2006. Sharp would join the ‘Hawks during the dark times. In 2006, ESPN  would label the ‘Hawks the worst franchise in sports, and the United Center saw about 5,000 fans a night. Hawks home games were not even on TV for another several seasons.

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Sharp would blossom in Chicago during the dark times. He set a career high in goals with 36 in 2007-08. Sharp was starting to take off for the ‘Hawks at the exact right time.  In their surprising run to the Western Conference finals in 2008-09, Sharp was third in goals scored on the team with 26 behind Toews and Martin Havlat. He scored seven goals during that playoff run to the West finals.

Sharp’s role in the “dynasty” era

During the first Stanley Cup championship season, he was fourth in points with 66. He was tied for second on the team with 25 goals. During the 2010 playoffs, he scored 11 goals and 11 assists.  He might be most famous for digging out the puck that served as Patrick Kane’s Stanley Cup-winning goal. He would not receive statistical credit for that play, but it was still a fun moment.

In 2011, Sharp set a career high in points with 71 and won the All-Star Game MVP.

In 2012-13, the ‘Hawks did not lose a regular-season game that Sharp played in.  Sharp played in only 28 regular-season games but appeared in all 23 playoff games. He led the Stanley Cup Playoffs in goals with 10, more than Conn Smythe Winner Patrick Kane. He recorded 16 points.

In 2013-14, Sharp would break his career high in points with 78. He would make his only Canadian Olympic team and win a gold medal. He would score five goals and have five assists in the playoffs. He scored the go-ahead goal against the L.A. Kings in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals. The ‘Hawks would ultimately lose that game in overtime.

In 2014-15, Sharp would become a third-line player in the playoffs, and in my mind it was one of the best third lines the ‘Hawk had during the “dynasty” era. Sharp played wing along with Teuvo Teravainen and Antoine Vermette. That line in my mind was X factor for the ‘Hawks in the playoffs.

He was a big-time player who excelled in the playoffs. He could play on the top line Toews and Kane or he could be scoring big-time goals on the third line. He had great speed and was an excellent shooter.

People respected him, and he was a hero when the moment called for it. Sharp was always in the middle of the Blackhawks’ surges during the playoffs. He scored a powerplay goal in the epic Game 4 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. He scored the first goal in Game 5 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.

Next: Sharp's Departure Reminds Us Nothing Lasts Forever

While Kane, Toews, Duncan Keith, Marian Hossa and Brent Seabrook get a lot of the praise and fanfare, they would not be where they are today without Sharp. No. 10 is an all-time Blackhawks great, and he will be missed.

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