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Sharp Set To Meet Expectations

Monday, 09.18.2006 / 2:32 PM / News
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Sharp Set To Meet Expectations

Patrick Sharp scored two goals to lead Red to a 6-2 win over White Monday at Training Camp. The match was the first camp scrimmage after three days of practice.

Dave Bolland opened the scoring on a penalty shot to give White a 1-0 lead, but Sharp responded with a penalty shot goal of his own following a high stick call against White center Craig MacDonald. Sharp beat goalie Corey Crawford with a top shelf backhand flip.

Team White's only other tally came off a James Wisniewski shot from the point that may have been deflected in front of the net. Red got additional tallies from Jonas Nordqvist, Adam Hobson, Dustin Byfuglien and Troy Brouwer. Byfuglien's goal came on a blast from the blue line off a faceoff win by Evan Brophey. Sharp later added his second goal to close out the scoring.

"It was good. It was high tempo," said Sharp. "It was a little awkward getting back into a game situation with three days of practice and skating pretty hard. But it's nice to have a battle in the corner and have people trying to hit you when you have the puck."

"I thought Sharpie played very well. He's had a good camp," said coach Trent Yawney. "It's early, but he came in very committed. Not that I ever worry about his conditioning, but he's in great shape and I think that just having the year last year with the guys makes him a lot more comfortable."

Sharp failed to score a goal in his first 29 games after being acquired from Philadelphia on Dec. 8, but came on strong over the last 21 games to finish with 9 goals and 14 assists. Although he hasn't set specific offensive targets for this season, Sharp is determined to prove that the Blackhawks made the right move in acquiring him.

"Mentally, I'm committed to showing the Hawks that I'm a better player than I was last year," Sharp said. "They went out of their way to trade for me and it's important for me to live up to their expectations.

"When the season ended last year, I tried to look at missing the playoffs not as a negative but as a positive. I had five months to get better and get ready for next year, and I did that. I worked with a trainer in Thunder Bay and I feel like I'm in the best shape now that I've ever been in."

General manager Dale Tallon believes that Sharp, along with Radim Vrbata, Tony Salmelainen and Martin Havlat, will be key contributors this season under the new rules instituted last year due to their speed and skill with the puck. So far, Sharp likes what he sees.

"Man to man we're a much quicker team out there," said Sharp. "I think if you look around the league, all 700 players are close to being the same speed; it's just how players manage the puck and make plays at that high-end speed. We seem to have a good mix of that."


NOTES

  • Coach Yawney also singled out wingers Matt Keith and Chris Durno (tryout) for their solid play Monday, along with defenseman Dustin Byfuglien.
  • Corey Crawford and Tom Lawson handled net duties for White with Brian Boucher and Olivier Michaud in goal for Red at Monday's scrimmage. Nikolai Khabibulin and Sebastien Caron had an extended workout with goaltending coach Stephane Waite prior to the scrimmage and did not participate.
  • Brian Boucher will start in net Tuesday against St. Louis and play the entire game, according to coach Yawney. Tom Lawson will serve as Boucher's backup.
  • Center Michal Handzus is still recovering from shoulder surgery and is not ready to take contact. He has been skating on his own but could sit out the entire preseason in order to be ready for the start of the regular season.
  • Before the scrimmage, the Blackhawks worked on the power play with the 1st unit consisting of: Martin Havlat, Tuomo Ruutu, Radim Vrbata, Brent Seabrook and Adrian Aucoin.
  • All players not playing in Tuesday night's home game will be on hand to pass out free lineup cards to fans entering the United Center. Players will be stationed at every gate to greet fans and sign autographs. Like last year, players will be available at every preseason home game.
  • Scrimmage lineups: White - Bourque, Ruutu, Salmelainen, Bickell, McMorrow, Smolinski, Havlat, Arkhipov, Vrbata, Bolland, Hamilton, St. Pierre, Lapointe, Siklenka, Berti, Munn, Richmond, Hendry, Aucoin, Seabrook, Wisniewski, Maunu, Crawford, Lawson; Red - Durno, Corazzini, Hobson, Holmqvist, Blunden, MacDonald, Sharp, Fraser, Nordqvist, Brophey, M. Keith, Burish, Brouwer, Bochenski, Low, Cullimore, Kukkonen, Koci, Shutron, Vandermeer, Byfuglien, Doig, Boucher, Michaud.