'Underrated' Sharp is All-Star MVP

RALEIGH, N.C. – Being snubbed on the All-Star ballot served as motivation for Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp in the first half of the season.

Sharp’s 26 goals earned him a berth in the midseason game, where his goal and two assists earned him the MVP award.

“I guess I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bothered by it,” Sharp said of the ballot snub. “But it was motivation to play well this year and I really can’t argue with it. The Blackhawks have a ton of big names.”

Sharp joins Bobby Hull and Eric Daze as Blackhawks who have won All-Star game MVPs.

“You’re going to look at a list of former MVPs of this game and it’s quite a lineup,” Jonathan Toews said. “So it’s pretty cool for him to be added to that list.”

After a weekend of friendly ribbing at the relaxed event, Toews and other current and former Hawks were genuinely happy for Sharp, who wasn’t an instant star in the league.

“The thing with Sharp, he’s probably one of the most underrated players,” Patrick Kane said. “For him to win MVP, hopefully he gets a little more recognition.”

“He’s proven he’s one of those guys, one of those stars who’s worked hard and become one of those household names,” Toews said. “It’s not easy for a guy like that, but he’s doing it for sure.”

It was especially satisfying for Sharp since his family had to endure weather problems in getting to Raleigh.

“Their flight got canceled out of Newark, so they met some people and jumped in a minivan and drove from midnight to 8:00 a.m. just to get here and watch the game,” he said.

Sharp won a car for taking home MVP honors.

“I know that my dad and brother will be fighting over the car,” Sharp quipped. “I think my brother Chris might win out.”

Sharp was robbed the day before in the Skills competition when he had to face Toews a second time in a shooting drill after Toews complained he didn’t hear the whistle. With that backdrop, along with Toews’ side winning the All-Star game but Sharp the MVP, all four all-star Hawks will fly together to Columbus on Monday, where the Hawks will resume the season on Tuesday.

“I think this will be a topic of conversation,” Sharp said of his MVP award. “I’ll be sure to bring it up a few times. And Jonathan and I have some unfinished business with the shooting targets. So we’ll have to do something back in Chicago.”

So every Hawk got something out of the game. Well, almost. Head coach Joel Quenneville and assistant Mike Haviland coached the losing Team Staal.

“I think everyone goes home a winner except for me and Haviland,” Quenneville joked.

The NHL was probably a winner as well, as most associated with the game were happy with the first time ever “fantasy player draft.” A close outcome, 11-10, despite very little defense, left something to be decided late.

The Hawks were as big a winner as any, with Kane, Toews and Duncan Keith on the winning Team Lidstrom and Sharp taking home the MVP.

“All in all I think it was a great weekend for the Blackhawks, the coaching staff, and the four players,” Sharp said. “I think we all had a lot of fun and represented the team well.”