Patrick Sharp enters fatherhood

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Patrick Sharp enters fatherhood

Patrick Sharp thought his wife, Abby, was calling him to congratulate him on his two-goal performance against the New York Islanders late Thursday night. He got a surprise.

The first thing she said, I think Im having the baby tonight, said Sharp, who was about to board the team plane home right after that phone call. I forgot about hockey pretty quick.

Welcome to parenthood.

Sharp and his wife welcomed their first child, a girl named Madelyn Grace, late Friday afternoon. The Blackhawks forward, who plans to play Sunday night against the San Jose Sharks, said he wasnt nervous or worried as the team headed back to Chicago on Thursday night. But the enormity of fatherhood hit him as soon as Madelyn Grace came into the world.

When I saw the baby for the first time, it was an unbelievable feeling, Sharp said. Its something cant describe until you go through it yourself, I guess.

Sharps wife and baby are doing well; theyll both come home tomorrow. It was a bit surprising to see Sharp practicing today but he said his wifes in good hands with family in town.

I got kicked out and came back to work today, he said. Ill head there now, spend the afternoon with them and be ready to play tomorrow.

Sharp said he talked plenty about impending fatherhood to Marian Hossa, whose daughter Mia was born in September. Hossa congratulated Sharp this morning.

I asked lots of questions so that was it, Hossa said. I told him a little bit (of what to expect). When the wife comes home from the hospital theres less sleep. But its definitely an enjoyable moment for the rest of his life.

Sharps welcoming the changes.

Its crazy, he said. You can prepare and talk about it as much as you want. You think youre ready for it but when it happens its a whole different situation.

Blackhawks re-sign defenseman Ville Pokka to one-year deal

Blackhawks re-sign defenseman Ville Pokka to one-year deal

The Blackhawks signed Ville Pokka to a one-year contract on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old Pokka played in all 76 regular-season games for the Rockford IceHogs last season, recording six goals and 24 assists.

The Blackhawks’ defensive depth has already taken a hit this offseason, with Niklas Hjalmarsson traded to Arizona – Connor Murphy came here in the deal – and Trevor van Riemsdyk, selected by the Vegas Golden Knights, then traded to the Carolina Hurricanes. While the Blackhawks will probably explore free-agent options this offseason, Pokka could vie for an opportunity at training camp.

Blackhawks don’t extend qualifying offer to Dennis Rasmussen

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks don’t extend qualifying offer to Dennis Rasmussen

Dennis Rasmussen was not tendered a qualifying offer by the Blackhawks, a source confirmed on Tuesday. Rasmussen will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Rasmussen was coming off a one-year deal worth $575,000. He was expected to be among those the Blackhawks extended qualifying offers – the deadline was Monday afternoon – but he was not.

The 26-year-old played 68 games for the Blackhawks this past season, recording four goals and four assists. He gave the Blackhawks some options, as he also played some wing and was part of the penalty kill. But he was a surprise healthy scratch more often than not as the regular season continued.

The Blackhawks will enter this season without Rasmussen and, if Marcus Kruger is traded, the team will have some holes to fill at center.