Sharp wins MVP; Blackhawks' stars stand out

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Sharp wins MVP; Blackhawks' stars stand out

Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011
Posted 6:12 p.m. Updated 8:03 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

RALEIGH, N.C. When the NHL All-Star ballot came out a few months ago, Patrick Sharps name wasnt even on it. It seemed a snub, considering the hot start and consistent scoring the Chicago Blackhawks forward had even then.

Several months, a lot more goals and one All-Star game later, Sharp earned the MVP trophy.

Sharp had a goal and two assists on Sunday and was named MVP, but Team Staal fell to Team Lidstrom 11-10 at the 2011 NHL All-Star game at RBC Center on Sunday afternoon. It was another bright moment for Sharp, and one of vindication.

I guess Id be lying if I said I wasnt a little bothered by it, Sharp said of the ballot snub. It was individual motivation to play well this year and really cant argue with it. The Blackhawks have a ton of great names and great players and a lot of guys deserve to be here.

WATCH: Sharp has Hawks bragging rights

Jonathan Toews had a goal and two assists for Nicklas Lidstroms victorious team. Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith each added an assist for Team Lidstrom.

Enjoying his first All-Star appearance, Sharp got two early assists for fellow Thunder Bay native Eric Staals team. He was originally awarded three first-period assists but had one taken away. His Blackhawks teammates said hes earned this.

Hes proven hes one of those guys, one of those stars, Toews said. Hes slowly worked to become a household name. Its not easy but hes done it. You look at the list of former MVPs in this game, youre going to see quite a lineup. Its pretty cool for him to be added to that list.

Kane, Team Lidstroms alternate captain said, its good to see him do well. He was probably a little lonely with all the Blackhawks on this team.

Plusminus

Nicklas Lidstrom and Shea Weber finished plus-7 and plus-6, respectively, in Sundays game. Meanwhile, Keith and former Blackhawk Dustin Byfuglien were each minus-3. When asked if Keith felt he was alone on the blue line, he joked, a little bit. Nah, seriously, it was good, it was fun. Its an all-star game. Guys are trying to make plays. I dont think anyone cares too much.

WATCH: Keith jokes with 'Big Buff'

Tough travel

Sharps great day was made better with his parents in attendance. But they almost didnt make it. Sharp said his parents got stranded in Newark, N.J., when their flight was canceled, but they found other transportation and made the all-night drive to Raleigh.

They jumped in a minivan and drove from midnight to 8 a.m. just to get here and watch the game, Sharp said. I didnt want to let them down.

As for that car that Sharp wins for being MVP, he said his dad and brother will probably fight over who gets it.

Back to reality

The Blackhawks have had a nice respite, but now its back to the Western Conference dogfight and the road. After spending much of December and January at home, the Blackhawks will play nine of 13 this month away from it. They have a test on their hands, but Toews said theyre ready for it.

This is our time to shine, Toews said. Weve gotten better one game at a time, and its time to play that playoff style of hockey. Every games going to count for us. Guys are going to come back fresh, and we know we can take advantage of it. Our focus will be on our team and nothing else.

Shame, shame

Carolinas Eric Staal was teased for his failure as All-Star team captain, with his squad coming up one goal short. But he wasnt going to take all the blame.

We got complacent. Im not going to lie to you, he said. Youre right, Ill take the brunt of it. Leave a little bit of it for (coach Joel) Quenneville, too.

Briefly

Coach Joel Quenneville will head back to Chicago for the Blackhawks Monday afternoon practice. The Blackhawks All-Star players will head directly to Columbus, where they play the Blue Jackets on Tuesday.

Quenneville faced three of his players on Sunday and said there were some moments where he was torn. Certainly, you root for your guys. Then Jonny (Toews) makes it 9-8 and I think, Do I root against Jonny?
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Blackhawks Convention Opening Ceremonies

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AP

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Blackhawks Convention Opening Ceremonies

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, we're live at the 2017 Blackhawks Convention. 

Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp join David Kaplan and Pat Boyle to talk about returning to Chicago. 

Later Boyle, CSN Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers, Chris Kuc and Sam Panayotovich discuss the huge roster changes this offseason. 

Listen to the STL Pod below. 

Don Granato thrilled to be working with 'calm' Q again

Don Granato thrilled to be working with 'calm' Q again

For Don Granato, working with coach Joel Quenneville again was a chance he couldn’t refuse. Granato was a young coach with the Worcester IceCats, the St. Louis affiliate when Quenneville was the Blues’ head coach, and Granato learned plenty.

“The presence,” Granato said of Quenneville. “He has a really good presence, a calming influence.”

Wait. Quenneville calm?

“Without a doubt, calming,” Granato said. “It was almost like, ‘Hey, we’re in it together.’ And again, that’s the calm behind the scenes. He helps players and in that case he helped me perform as well as I could at that point. I think he’s good at that, because he’s a people person. That’s what I remember most. It’s more of a feel.”

Granato, who general manager Stan Bowman called “a great communicator,” is happy to be back in the Quenneville coaching fold this season. Granato will be watching the games from upstairs and will bring another voice to a Blackhawks group that is looking to take a fresh approach after a second first-round loss. Assistant coach Kevin Dineen said having another perspective will help.

“I’m looking forward to having Donny here,” Dineen said. “I like to talk. I sit there and talk through things. When you have someone working with you on a specific area of the game you can have those debates. It’s the same thing with players but you’re teaching. With another coach a good, healthy voice like that with Donny’s experience can be great for us.”

Where Granato will help most – and where that calm he learned from Quenneville could be most critical – is with the Blackhawks’ younger players. He’s worked with several already through the USA Hockey National Team Development Program, including John Hayden and Nick Schmaltz, both of whom appreciated Granato’s tutelage.

“It’s so obvious he knows the game so well. I think coaches who know the game well and know how to teach the game well are hard to come by,” Hayden said. “It goes back to what I’ve said about meeting the coaching staff and the rest of the players. You feel comfortable in that regard. With coaching changes that process happens all over again, but I was fortunate to spend two years in the World Juniors with coach Granato, who did an incredible job with coaching and development.”

[MORE: Who goes where? Quenneville already plotting options] 

Granato will have a voice with the Blackhawks and will especially have an impact with their young players. The impact Quenneville made on him is still being felt.

“When he left St. Louis, he and my brother [Tony] coached together in Colorado. So the connection stayed. And I’ve always tried as a head coach to play the system that Joel played. So I’ve always tracked and watched the Hawks and the Avalanche and whoever Joel was playing,” Granato said. “That was fun, that’s the impact he had on me, from not only a presence, but the tactics, as well.