The following excerpt is taken from the new book, "One Goal II: The Inside Story of the 2013 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks."
"He’s useful in a lot of ways,” is the line that Joel Quenneville, not one of your more hyperbolic head coaches, will often employ in maximum praise of one of his players. Whether scoring goals, killing penalties and blasting power-play shots from the point on the ice, or interacting with fans, starring in hilarious videos and gracing magazine covers off it, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Blackhawk who fits that phrase better than Patrick Sharp.
Remember that Valentine’s Day video of Sharp in a cuddly dog costume delivering flowers to a shocked and grateful female fan? Well, at the Blackhawks Convention in July, he accepted another secret mission. For this Illinois Lottery “Anything’s Possible” concept, Sharp let Blackhawks TV track him taking room service to an unsuspecting family staying at the Hilton.
You could never blame any professional athlete for wanting to be a good sport while still angling to keep his embarrassment level to a minimum. Not Sharp. When handed his room service jacket, he not only threw it on without hesitation, he inquired where the accompanying vest was, then asked if he could get one of those fancy towels to place over his arm to complete the ensemble.
Sharp’s commitment to his character and the video’s success didn’t stop there. Blackhawks TV mounted a tiny camera to the front of his cart to capture the reactions on the guests’ faces the second Sharp wheeled into their room. In the chaos of the moment, the camera was turned so it faced a wall. Recognizing the potential missed opportunity, Sharp, consummate pro that he is, smoothly reached down and adjusted it to ensure that it was in the proper position, never losing focus or drawing attention away from the excitement of the scene.
There’s hockey sense, and there’s screen presence. Sharp has both.
Of course, being arguably the best sound bite in the locker room and looking great on camera will only get a hockey player so far. It’s ultimately how you perform on game day that matters most, and Sharp boasts no shortage of accolades, accumulating points faster than “Most Beautiful People in Chicago” honors: six consecutive 20-goal seasons between 2006 and 2012, five in a row with 25-plus, three with at least 34, plus an All-Star Game Most Valuable Player trophy on his mantle.
Then there’s that other silver hardware Sharp has helped to collect. During the 2010 Stanley Cup championship run, he shared the team lead with 11 playoff tallies, none bigger than the one that gave the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead in the second period of Game 6 in Philadelphia. In the 2013 playoffs, it was Sharp who paced the team with 10 goals, not Conn Smythe Trophy winner Patrick Kane or breakout star Bryan Bickell (both with nine).
After streaking to 24 straight games without a regulation loss to start the 2012-13 campaign, the Blackhawks finally dropped a contest at Colorado on March 8 — a game that Sharp missed due to injury, prompting him to quip, “I’m still undefeated, that’s all I know.” The joke turned out to be on him: With Sharp in the lineup, the Blackhawks’ regular-season record was 25-0-3.
The serious truth is that Sharp has proven himself to be one of the most productive, versatile members of a core that has achieved the remarkable feat of winning two Stanley Cups in four seasons. The Blackhawks official website appreciates all the page views, but there’s nothing more useful than that.
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