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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.

Kings vs. Blackhawks: Time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

Kings vs. Blackhawks: Time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

The Chicago Blackhawks finally earned new head coach Jeremy Colliton his first NHL win on Wednesday night against the rival St. Louis Blues. On Friday night, the Blackhawks welcime another familiar foe to town, the Los Angeles Kings.

It was a significant moment after three straight losses under Colliton, who was brought in to replace the legendary Joel Quenneville in an attempt to help an underperforming roster reach the playoffs this season. The team will look to build on that momentum against a Kings team that is struggling in their own right, coming to the Windy City on a three-game losing streak.

Corey Crawford, who shut out the Blues on Wednesday, is projected to start on Friday night. Peter Budaj is projected to start for the Kings in goal.

BLACKHAWKS VS. KINGS: HOW TO WATCH

What: Los Angeles Kings at Chicago Blackhawks

When: Friday, November 16, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. CT

Where: United Center, Chicago, IL

TV ChannelNBC Sports Chicago

LIve Stream: MyTeams App (Click here for link)

BLACKHAWKS VS. KINGS TV SCHEDULE

7:00 PM: Blackhawks Pregame Live is presented by ChevyDrivesChicago.com 
7:30 PM: Los Angeles Kings @ Chicago Blackhawks
10:00 PM: Chicago Blackhawks Postgame Live presented by Hyundai

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.

Chris Kunitz on in-season coaching change experience with Penguins that led to Stanley Cup

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USA TODAY

Chris Kunitz on in-season coaching change experience with Penguins that led to Stanley Cup

In-season coaching changes are hard to predict in the NHL. There were zero of them last season, which was a rarity. This year, there have already been two so far (Joel Quenneville and John Stevens) and they're usually done for a similar reason: the group is underperforming and teams want to salvage whatever is left of the season.

Chris Kunitz was part of a mid-season coaching change as an alternate captain with Pittsburgh in 2015-16 when Mike Sullivan took over for Mike Johnston on Dec. 12 after the Penguins went 6-6-3 following a 9-4-0 start. It was probably time for a new voice there anyways, but the Penguins lost four straight games in regulation to start Sullivan’s tenure as coach. Things didn’t look great.

But it wasn’t because players weren’t responding. It was more-so the challenge of getting acclimated to a new system and unlearning old habits on the fly. That’s what the Blackhawks are going through right now with Jeremy Colliton.

“Some of the guys have played a different system and haven't played anything like this,” Kunitz said. “Being around the league, I've played in a system like this, I feel comfortable with the changes on the fly. But for some guys, it's not that natural instinct to do something different than they've been doing for 8-10 years."

In many ways, Sullivan and Colliton have a similar coaching style: play with pace, be aggressive on the forecheck, quick and clean zone exits. It helps having a guy like Kunitz in the locker room to help with that transition, for both the younger players and veterans.

Once the Penguins did get accustomed to the new system, they never looked back. They snapped that four-game losing streak on Dec. 21 and didn't lose back-to-back games in regulation the rest of the season. It was exactly what they needed. They went into the playoffs as one of the hottest teams — winning 13 of their final 14 games — and eventually went on to win the Stanley Cup, the first of their back-to-back.

Obviously, the 2018-19 Blackhawks are not the 2015-16 Penguins. But it provides a glimpse into how it takes time to adjust to a different system mid-season while also offering hope that it's not too late for a struggling team going through a coaching change to turn around their season.

"Any time there's something changing, guys want that 'why' or 'how does this affect what's going on out there?' Kunitz said. "It's easier if we talk through it as a group or with coaches to better understand why we're doing it and how we're trying to accomplish it and where the puck is supposed to be at certain times. Whenever we can just have that natural instinct to transition from watching it to doing it on the ice, that's when we'll have more success."

After going winless (0-2-1) in Colliton's first three games as an NHL head coach, the Blackhawks got back in the win column with a 1-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night. They had been making progress, but weren't seeing the end result reflect that.

The Blackhawks got reinforcement that what they're doing is working so far, as long as they stick with it. If they continue to do that, the points will follow. And that's all they can control right now.

"It's starting to believe in yourself," Kunitz said. "... It's a process of understanding the system and getting to the right level of comfort with each other, but also going out there and outworking the other team. That's what it boils down to.

"With changing the systems, it's more learning and trying to educate yourself. Go out and practice, coach says keep it clean, have good passes and the results will come. When we go out there and we keep it clean in the D-zone, when we've come up the ice we've had good things, we've had success. Probably haven't scored as many goals as we should have, but in the end we have to work harder in our D-zone and when we do all that and put a complete game together, I know the end result will be there."