Patrick Sharp sad to leave Blackhawks, but looking forward to Stars


Patrick Sharp sad to leave Blackhawks, but looking forward to Stars

Patrick Sharp felt the emotional mix once he found out he was traded to the Dallas Stars.

After hearing speculation and innuendo for quite a while now, there was naturally happiness to have the deal finally done. And while he’s ready to start a new chapter with a team on the rise, he’s also sad to leave a Blackhawks team he helped bring back to life.

Sharp talked Saturday of the four-player deal that sends him to Dallas. For Sharp, the last few weeks and months have been exhilarating and tiring. He won another Stanley Cup, the third the Blackhawks claimed in the past six seasons. He also heard constant chatter on where he could end up, given the Blackhawks’ salary-cap issues. And when the deal was finally made, it was like a weight was lifted.

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“I’ve learned over the years not to listen to too many rumors, where they’re coming from unless they’re coming from [Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman] or my agent. But to hear the speculation was certainly something. It wasn’t weighting but it was getting annoying to a point,” Sharp said via conference call. “We wanted to get something done. I’m thrilled to get to Dallas and ready to get started with a new team.”

It wasn’t so much if Sharp would get traded as when he would get traded. The tighter salary cap – $71.4 million – coupled with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane’s new deals kicking in this season meant the Blackhawks had to shed money. Sharp, who has two years remaining on his current deal (cap hit of $5.9 million) was the most likely to go. Still, when that call comes, it’s not easy.

“The conversation with Stan was a tough one, as was the one with Joel [Quenneville],” Sharp said. “Whenever you leave an organization, there are certainly mixed emotions. You can’t say anything bad about the Blackhawks. I really enjoyed my time there. I’ve grown into the person I am today because of that organization. I look forward to reconnecting with those guys some day, be it the offseason or playing against them.”

[MORE: Blackhawks trade Patrick Sharp to Dallas Stars]

Sharp is heading to a team trying to return to its successful years (late 1990s-early 2000s). When the Blackhawks acquired Sharp 10 years ago, he was a young player joining a team that was also trying to revive its former glory. Ten years and three Stanley Cups later, Sharp departs Chicago a proven winner.

“It’s amazing to see the turnaround,” Sharp said. “That’s a credit to some of the players who played there, a credit to front office and to the fan base. It’s amazing to see them win their third Cup in a short amount of time. It speaks to the organization, what a quality group it is; first class in every way. Being a part of it for 10 years, it doesn’t surprise me anymore, with such good quality people there that they had such a turnaround.”

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The trade chatter has been silenced. The weight has been lifted for Sharp. It will be difficult to leave the place and a team he called home for the past 10 seasons but this is the business part of the sport that affects so many. It’s been a great run. Now Sharp is ready to turn the page.

“I can tell you I’m extremely proud of everything I’ve accomplished the last 10 years, on and off the ice. Sometimes that gets lost, the off-ice stuff the Hawks allowed me to do, whether it was interacting with fans, helping in a charitable way or just representing the city with the Hawks. The Cups stand out, no question about that,” Sharp said. “But that chapter of my life is over and I’m looking forward to starting a new one.”

Wake-up call? Brandon Saad 'surprised' about possibility of being a healthy scratch


Wake-up call? Brandon Saad 'surprised' about possibility of being a healthy scratch

Brandon Saad played a majority of last season on the first line, started this season on the second to change things up, got demoted to the fourth by the fifth game, and could find himself out of the lineup in the sixth.

Before the Blackhawks hit the ice for practice on Monday, the 25-year-old winger found a white jersey hanging in his stall. That's usually reserved for players who are injured — Andreas Martinsen (back) was the only other player wearing one — or players who are on the outside looking in, which appears to be Saad right now considering he was not part of the four-line rotation.

"I don't think anyone wants to be wearing white around here," he said. "But it is what it is and there's nothing you can do but keep trying to improve. It's their job to make the call to put the best team out there to win hockey games."

Known for being even-keeled through the ups and downs, Saad expressed disappointment about the possibility of being a healthy scratch on Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes. He didn't exactly show that emotion following his demotion to the fourth line, perhaps out of respect to the players he was playing with by noting how it brings balance.

But he did on Monday, and it was the first time we've really seen some sort of emotion out of him.

"Everyone makes mistakes and things aren't always going to go your way but to be out of the lineup, a little surprised today," Saad said. "But it is what it is. ... No one wants to be out of the lineup. That's never fun regardless of who you are."

When asked to pinpoint what's gone wrong, Saad said he wasn't the right person to ask.

"I think you got to ask him that," he said, referring to Joel Quenneville and the coaching staff. "It's his calls. For me, you can talk pros and cons as much as you want but just trying to go out there and compete and win hockey games. We've won a few here, I know every game has gone to overtime so they've been close. Nothing was said to me about lineup change or anything like that. You just come in and you see your jersey and you go out there and you play."

So Quenneville was asked.

"Just expect more," he said. "That's the situation."

Is his mindset in the right place?

"I think he's fine," Quenneville said. "His mindset is what it is. Whether it's urgency or passion, coming up with loose pucks in those areas is going to be the difference."

The Blackhawks sending a message shouldn't only be directed at Saad. It also serves as a reminder to his teammates and is important to note for the younger guys about earning your ice time.

"I don't really know where the coaches are coming from so I'm not going to comment on that," Jonathan Toews said respectfully. "But [Saad] has been doing some good things and I think it's good for all of us to know what's going on there because if [Saad] can get his ice time taken away, then so can a lot of guys, myself included. So we all want to play well and have team success."

The Blackhawks need Saad to return to form quickly because he's crucial to their overall success. There's no debate about that. It's why the thought of Saad, who played in all 82 games last season, serving as the 13th forward is frustrating for everyone involved.

It hasn't been a problem in the past, but now it's becoming one because of the Blackhawks' aspirations of getting back to the playoffs and their dependence on their top players.

"I don’t think it’s an issue," Quenneville said. "We just expect more out of him."

Blackhawks make sports history with fifth straight overtime game to start season

Blackhawks make sports history with fifth straight overtime game to start season

The Blackhawks made sports history on Saturday after they appeared in their fifth straight overtime game to start the season.

No NHL team has done that since the league introduced a regular-season overtime period in 1983-84, per the Elias Sports Bureau. It also has never happened in the history of MLB, NBA or NFL, showing just how crazy this early season run has been for the Blackhawks, who have rallied from all five games and have come away with wins in three of them.

"We’ve had five games, every one of them have been extremely intense and the game’s been on the line from start to finish," coach Joel Quenneville said following a 4-3 overtime win over the St. Louis Blues. "Our group’s been competitive this year, the guys have been working hard for one another. I don’t know how many games we’ve been down in the third period, and coming back to win is special."

The Blackhawks appeared in 17 overtime/shootout games last season and won seven of them. They are one of six teams this season that have yet to pick up a regulation win.

On a separate note, Saturday marked the eighth time in Blackhawks history that one player scored a tying goal in the third period and scored in overtime (Alex DeBrincat), according to the NHL's PR department. It's the second time it's happened this year for the Blackhawks, with Jonathan Toews the other on Oct. 6 against St. Louis.