RALEIGH, N.C. -- Patrick Sharp had a promise to keep. To Mom and Dad.
His parents flew from their native Thunder Bay, Ontario, to Minneapolis and then Newark, N.J., only to see their flight to Raleigh canceled by a massive snowstorm in the Northeast. Undaunted -- they are from Northern Ontario after all, where they make them tough -- Mr. and Mrs. Sharp hopped in a rental van and drove overnight from New Jersey to North Carolina.
Patrick told ESPN.com on Friday that he better do something good for his parents this weekend. Does All-Star Game MVP work for ya?
"I didn't want to let them down,” Sharp said after a three-point night (1-2) in his team's 11-10 loss. "I'm glad I can bring the trophy home, and I know that my dad and my brother will be fighting over the car. So we'll see who wins that. I think my brother Chris might win out."
Sharp wasn't even on the All-Star ballot when it came out, making it in thanks to Hawks fans pressing the issue via the write-in ballot.
"I guess I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bothered by it," Sharp said of not making the original ballot. "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 and great players and a lot of guys that deserve to be here. So I'm proud to be a Blackhawk in the All-Star Game and things worked out."
In a game featuring mostly first-round picks who were can’t-miss prospects, it's refreshing to see a player like Sharp take home MVP honors given how hard he’s worked to make himself a star. Drafted 95th overall by the Flyers in 2001, Sharp leads the Hawks with 26 goals this season.
"I think the MVP went to the hardest worker today, that's for sure," said Hawks teammate Jonathan Toews. "He deserved it. We were kind of laughing, we thought it would be funny if Loui Eriksson could get two empty-net goals at the end for the hat trick and steal the car from him."
Sharp certainly wasn't losing too much sleep before his first All-Star Game. Maybe that was the key.
"It's tough to get too motivated for an All-Star Game," Sharp said with welcomed honesty. "I think I just wanted to go out there and play well. I was lucky to be playing with Claude Giroux making good passes out there and David Backes, a guy I see quite a bit playing against the Blues, so it's nice to team up with him instead of being his enemy for once.
"It was tough to see the other guys on the other team. They won the game. I got the trophy. So I guess everybody's happy."
Lonely job in net
Playing goal in an All-Star Game is a bit of a thankless job. Marc-Andre Fleury was quickly reminded of that after allowing four goals in the opening 5:41 of the game.
"Oh my god, that felt like a long time," Fleury said after the game. "I looked at the scoreboard and I was like, 'Are you kidding me?' Then the team played hard after. It was fun. I was still happy to be here."
Fleury settled down and didn't allow another goal, stopping 10 of 14 shots overall. Jonas Hiller was the stingiest, beaten only twice on 17 shots in his first All-Star Game. But, he had to keep his head on a swivel.
"It feels like summer hockey, lots of backdoor plays," Hiller said. "It's not the most fun for the goalies but still enjoyed it."
What he didn't enjoy was taking a wrist shot on the helmet from Kris Letang.
"I was hoping not to get hit on the head this weekend but I got it twice in 20 minutes," laughed Hiller. "It didn't go in at least. But it definitely woke me up."
Carey Price was outstanding, making several difficult saves in stopping 13 of 16 shots.
"It was good. I think it's pretty important that the game be tight at least," Price said.
"You always know that these types of deals are going to be high-scoring. You try and mix in a few big saves and it's all worth it.
"You don't know what’s going to happen out there. You could get scored on eight times out there."
Henrik Lundqvist allowed three goals on 14 shots.
"You want to see a lot of scoring chances, you want to see a lot of goals," said the Rangers goalie. "For a goalie going into a game like this you have the mindset that they're going to score on you. But I told Carey after his period, he played really well, you have to appreciate the good saves, kind of forget about all the goals."
Tim Thomas got the win after stopping 11 of 15 shots, establishing the longest win streak in All-Star Game history with his third straight.
"It meant a lot and it was a chance to be in some sort of record books and I don't think too many people are checking out the All-Star record books but it definitely meant something to me," Thomas said.
Hometown goalie Cam Ward gave up four goals on 14 shots.
"I thought I was doing pretty good the first 10 minutes," Ward said. "It was like, whoa, this ain't so bad, and boom, four goals against. Yeah, I just kind of wanted to go out there and have a good time. I didn't want to get caught up about how many goals I was going to allow. But I did the best I could. But, I mean, those guys are All-Stars. They're going to put the puck in the net when they have good chances like that."
Ovechkin makes history
Alex Ovechkin was involved in what was the first-ever penalty shot awarded during an All-Star Game when he pitched his stick in an attempt to break up a Matt Duchene breakaway.
"I'm in history again," Ovechkin told NHL.com with a smile.
Duchene missed and Ovechkin was hardly apologetic.
"I want to be different," he told ESPN.com.
"I think fans love it," Ovechkin told NHL.com. "He didn't score, right?"
Ovechkin, who seemed much less outgoing than he was two years ago in Montreal, scored the game's first goal and finished with a goal and an assist.
Just as he doesn't seem to get noticed in Dallas, Stars winger Loui Eriksson didn't get much attention for collecting four points (2-2) on the night, including the game winner. Named the most underrated player in the NHL by his peers in a poll conducted by CBC and the NHLPA, Ericksson just shrugged his shoulders when asked by ESPN.com whether he got snubbed for the All-Star MVP.
"There were a lot of good players out there with a lot of points. It didn't matter to me. I just had a lot of fun out there," said the soft-spoken Swede.
And how about that game-winning goal … in an empty net.
"I had a lot of time to put it in," he laughed. "It was nice to get that. It was the game winner after all."
Lidstrom in the black
Somehow in a wide-open, 11-10 affair, the great Nicklas Lidstrom posted a plus-7 rating, obviously tops in the game. And ridiculous.
"It could be plus-7, it could be minus-7 in a game like this," the humble Lidstrom said, downplaying it. "Me and [Shea] Weber were lucky to be out there when we're scoring some goals."
Getting paired with Lidstrom was the highlight of the game for Weber.
"He's not bad," laughed Weber. "It's pretty special to play with one of the best defensemen if not the best defenseman of all time. I watched him growing up and this is obviously something I'll never forget."
Weber had a strong case for MVP with four assists and a plus-6 rating.
"No chance," Weber said. "It didn't cross my mind. I just had a blast out there watching the best players in the world doing their thing."
Lidstrom was proud of his team's comeback after going down early.
"You're kind of looking up there at the score and you're thinking, 'Geez, it's 4-0 and it's not even half the period,'" laughed Lidstrom.
"We lost to Team Staal last night in the skills but we got our revenge today."
Lidstrom enjoyed the weekend and also got reminded that he's not getting any younger.
"You look at the year some of them are born, it's fun. Skinner I think was born in 1992," said Lidstrom. "That's when I finished my first season over here. That's how old I'm getting I guess."
Brother act, Part 1
A brother combination that made for some interesting discussion was the separation of identical Vancouver Canucks twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin.
Daniel ended up playing with Ovechkin and Ryan Kesler and said that was pretty fun. He didn’t encounter his brother on the ice but did watch closely from the bench when Henrik was on the ice.
"Didn't think too much about," Daniel said. "It's a fun game to play and I got a chance to play with Kesler and Ovechkin which was a lot of fun too. I didn't think too much about it actually.
"I was more looking at how he did and how he played with [Danny] Briere and Kane and they seemed to have a lot of fun too so I think we were both happy."
Brother act, Part 2
That said, he admitted to giving his brother a hard time when Eric was kept off the score sheet early in the game.
"I told him he was letting everybody down," Marc joked.
Eric ended up with two goals.
Even though he knew the chants were more for his brother, Marc said it was fun to hear the RBC crowd chanting "Let's go, Staal."
"He made the right picks. We had a lot of fun," Marc said.