Scandals, rumors, and alleged locker room fights may have been in Patrick Sharp’s head a few weeks ago, but now the only thing he is thinking about is scoring goals and racking up points for the Chicago Blackhawks.
As THW Contributor Derek Wolff pointed out on March 16th, the Blackhawks needed Sharp to step up during the playoff stretch. In the four game’s since that article Sharp has posted one goal and three assists, as well as posting a +4. When you tack on his 2 goals and +3 rating on March 14th, Sharp has three goals, three assists and a +7 rating in his last five games. So what changed, and will it continue?
The Fathers Trip
Sometimes all it takes is a little father/son bonding. As Sharp told the Chicago Sun-Times after the Sharks game: “I had a great three days hanging with my dad,” Sharp said afterward. “I haven’t had that much time with him in a long while. It kind of puts things in perspective. Going through a tough time individually, whatever the case may be, to see a guy like my father, who fights every day and who’s an inspiration for me, it kind of puts everything in perspective and makes me feel like it’s a little easier to play the game.”
It would seem that the fathers trip was just what the doctor ordered for Sharp. It is not just the points that are increasing, but it seems that his confidence is also hitting a season high. In the four games before the trip, Sharp took a combined 12 shots total and posted a +1 rating. The two games the fathers joined the team? 12 shots and a +3 rating.
To go along with his increase in shots and points, Sharp is also seeing his time on ice (TOI) and hits also going up. His renewed confidence has him playing about 2 more minutes per game, while also doubling his hit totals. A confident Sharp is a very dangerous weapon for the Hawks to possess as they try to catch St.Louis and Nashville.
Can Sharp keep this up? Time will tell, but playing alongside Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa can only increase his odds. Sharp has played alongside the Captain and Big Hoss about 54% of the time during this five game stretch, netting 2 assists and 1 goal when the three are on the ice.
Welcome Back Mr.Sharp, we have been patiently awaiting your arrival.