Age is beneficial for Hawks' Sharp

Ian Busby, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:43 PM ET

Being an ‘old guy’ with the Chicago Blackhawks does have some benefits for Patrick Sharp.

As the third-oldest active forward, Sharp gets dibs on road roommate Adam Burish when it comes to making key decisions.

“I run the whole room,” Sharp said. “I have the TV controller, I run the temperature … I like it cool.”

That’s funny, no one on the Hawks is hotter their first-round playoff series with the Calgary Flames.

Although Sharp is tied with captain Jonathan Toews and defenceman Cam Barker with two goals and three assists in five games, the veteran is one of two plus players (Toews).

With the likes of Toews, 2007 first-overall pick Patrick Kane and rookie of the year candidate Kris Versteeg, Sharp can sometimes get overlooked.

Those players make up a nucleus of ‘young’ Hawks, but Sharp is only 27 and a baby by most other team’s standards.

With Chicago, he’s a greybeard.

“To me, he’s one of our best players all year long,” said Burish, who is a year younger than Sharp.

“You can see the stuff he does on the ice, but a lot of it is the stuff you don’t see. He’s such a leader in the locker-room.

“He really looks out for the younger guys. He really cares about us. He’s so committed and he works his tail off in the summer.

“It’s good to have someone like him around for all us young guys. He hasn’t been around 10 years but he acts like it, the way he carries himself every day.”

The Hawks pulled off a great trade a few years ago to get Sharp from the Philadelphia Flyers.

In December 2005, the Flyers sent Sharp and Eric Meloche to the Windy City for Matt Ellison and a third-round draft pick.

Sharp is the only player still with either team, and he went from fourth-line checker to front-line scorer with the move.

In three full seasons with the Hawks, Sharp has scored 20, 36 and 26 goals, although this year’s total would be higher if he wasn’t limited to 61 games with injuries.

When he was with the Flyers, Sharp was behind the likes of Keith Primeau, Jeremy Roenick, Simon Gagne, Mike Richards et al.

Going to Chicago meant he became important part of a rebuilding program.

“I always thought of myself as an offensive guy, growing up and even playing college hockey,” said Sharp, who went to Vermont.

“In Philly, they taught me how to play the game the right way. I got used to a check-first mentality and I had a penalty killing role.

“I was on a fourth-line limited role. I did that and when I got a chance to play in offensive situations, my game was more complete than it was before.”

Sharp has been with the Hawks long enough to fully appreciate the turnaround in Chicago.

“I remember my first game against the Rangers at the United Center,” Sharp said. “There was 11,000 or 12,000 there. And now you can’t get a ticket. It’s really turned around quite a bit.

“Management had done some great things, the GM has done some great things and the players have done great things.

“It’s really neat to remember what it was like when I first got there.”


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