Blackhawks breakdown:Patrick Sharp


Blackhawks breakdown:Patrick Sharp Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers and PGL host Chris Boden will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the Hawks roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in numerical order.

In 74 games played during the 2011-12 campaign, Patrick Sharp led the Blackhawks with 33 goals. He also finished with 36 assists for 69 points and a plus-28 rating -- the best of his career and best on the team. Sharp's seven power play goals ranked second on the team and he also had 10 assists with the man-advantage. His 282 shots on goal led Chicago and he was credited with a career-best 80 hits. His eight game-winning goals were also the highest total of his career and he led the Hawks in that category as well. Sharp only scored one goal in the playoffs -- the deflection of Brent Seabrook's shot with 5.5 seconds left in Game 2 to send it into overtime -- and he finished minus-2 in the six-game series.

Boden's take: He was arguably the team MVP during the regular season, leading the team in goals and plus-minus, despite missing eight games with a broken wrist. That was after coming back quickly to start the season on time despite an emergency appendectomy just before the start of training camp. The plus-minus is a credit to his ever-improving defensive responsibility. In previous years, the alternate captain was prone to scoring slumps, but his longest drought was just five games, and he stepped up down the stretch to help the club finish strong. However, Sharp was also among the Hawks stars who were shut down during the playoff series vs. Phoenix when he managed only a tip-in goal in the six games.

Myers' take: The words under the radar have been synonymous with Sharps name for far too long. After tallying his second consecutive 30-plus goal season, Sharp is stating his case to be named among the leagues best - and certainly most consistent - scorers. If not for a broken wrist that sidelined him for three weeks, Sharp probably would have set new career highs in goals, assists and points. He came pretty close, even minus those three weeks. The Blackhawks were smart signing him to a new deal a season before his current one ended.

2012-13 Expectations

Chris: As we look ahead to the coming season and the start of the five-year, 29.5 million contract he signed last summer, Sharp is probably targeting the 40-goal mark. Even though he scored seven on the power play this past season, hes a regular on that unit who will be among those counted on to turn it around, which would certainly help his push for the 40 plateau. Sharp has his share of experience at center, but if the plan remains to keep Patrick Kane there, Sharp - whos always been willing to play wherever hes told - would be allowed to play at his more natural wing position, which should help his numbers.

Tracey: The 30-year-old Sharp is hitting his prime, and his stride. Regardless of what line he plays on or what center is beside him, Sharp just scores goals. And theres no reason to think that wont continue at the current rate next season. Oh, and keep him at the wing. Dont even think about moving him from the wing.

How do you feel about this evaluation? As always, be sure to chime in with your thoughts by commenting below and check out the video breakdown of Sharp above.

Previously: Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Steve Montador, Sean O'Donnell, Brent Seabrook, Nick Leddy

Up next: Daniel Carcillo

Cubs announce lineup for Game 1 of the World Series...and yes Kyle Schwarber is in it

Cubs announce lineup for Game 1 of the World Series...and yes Kyle Schwarber is in it

CLEVELAND - Kyle Schwarber is in the Cubs starting lineup for the first time since April 7.

It just so happens to also be the Cubs' first World Series starting lineup since 1945.

The Cubs released Joe Maddon's Game 1 lineup against Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians Tuesday afternoon ahead of a historic World Series matchup.

Schwarber is hitting fifth at DH:

1. Dexter Fowler - CF
2. Kris Bryant - 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo - 1B
4. Ben Zobrist - LF
5. Kyle Schwarber - DH
6. Javy Baez - 2B
7. Chris Coghlan - RF
8. Addison Russell - SS
9. David Ross - C

And Jon Lester is on the mound.

Schwarber is already the Cubs' all-time leader in postseason homers with five longballs in last season's playoff run.

[SHOP: Buy a "Try Not to Suck" shirt with proceeds benefiting Joe Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation & other Cubs Charities]

Coghlan in the lineup is also a surprise as defensive stalwart Jason Heyward gets the boot to the bench for the second straight game.

The Cubs put Albert Almora Jr. in right field at Wrigley Saturady night when they beat Clayton Kershaw and locked up the NLCs.

Heyward is hitting .071 with a .312 OPS in the postseason, collecting only two hits and a walk in 10 games.

Coghlan has appeared in five games - all as a pinch-hitter - and is 0-for-4 with a walk and a run. 

The Cubs have scored 23 runs in the last three games after being shut out in 21 straight innings prior to that.

Cubs' Javy Baez, Indians' Francisco Lindor cross paths again, this time at World Series

Cubs' Javy Baez, Indians' Francisco Lindor cross paths again, this time at World Series

CLEVELAND -- Francisco Lindor and Javy Baez have always traveled a similar path, from Puerto Rico to Florida to being selected one pick apart in the 2011 amateur draft.

The young star infielders will take another monumental step together on Tuesday night when they square off in the World Series.

Baez has been a breakout star this season for the Cubs, who return to the Fall Classic on Tuesday night after a 71-year absence against Lindor and the Cleveland Indians. 

A first-time All-Star in 2016 and runner-up for the 2015 American League Rookie of the Year award, Lindor said he and Baez, whose families once celebrated Thanksgiving together, reflected upon the significance of the moment over the weekend.

“He texted me after he won and said, ‘Hey man, is this a dream?’” Lindor said. “I said, ‘Yeah, I think it is because I haven’t woke up yet.’ I’m excited.”

[SHOP: Buy a "Try Not to Suck" shirt with proceeds benefiting Joe Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation & other Cubs Charities]

Baez and Lindor, the Indians’ shortstop for the past two seasons, grew up 20 miles apart in Puerto Rico and knew of each other. Both moved to Florida — about 160 miles apart — where their paths crossed again in high school and travel baseball games. Their proximity to one another got even closer when in 2011 the Indians selected Lindor with the eighth overall pick of the draft and the Cubs grabbed Baez with the ninth pick.

Lindor said Monday that their two families celebrated Thanksgiving together about a year after that with Baez’s family hosting the event. There was food and ping pong — Lindor said each player won a few games — and a good time was had by all.

“It was cool,” Lindor said. “His family made food and my mom brought something over and we just chilled. We ate, we had fun --- it was cool man. It was fun. That’s what kids do.”

Now those same youngsters are set to oppose each other in baseball’s most prestigious event. Not only that, both men’s franchises are attempting to snap lengthy World Series droughts and Baez and Lindor, who each have played starring roles this October, could potentially play big roles in their teams’ fortunes. Lindor said he can’t wait to get to shortstop and engage in some friendly banter with his longtime friend.

“Just like regular athletes we’re very competitive,” Lindor said. “We’re going to enjoy the game. But at the same time he likes to enjoy the game and that’s how I am too. You’ll see us whenever he’s at second base and I’m in the dugout -- you’ll see us saying stuff to each other and throughout the game. It’s fun. I’m really excited and can’t wait to go out there and play against him.

“I’m happy for him, happy for his family because he deserves it. All the things he has done, I’m super happy for him. I can’t wait to go out there and have fun. I just want to see him and give him a hug and say congrats.”