Though nine games in this 2013 season, the Chicago Blackhawks have lost just two games, and neither of them came in regulation. Even if they’ve been outplayed in some cases, they’ve still managed to get points in every single tilt so far.
Which makes it somewhat hard to find things to complain about. The goaltending and special teams, two main issues with this team, have been fantastic. Second line center remains an issue, though, and there are a couple of big names that still have yet to show up this year.
One of those names is Patrick Sharp.
Somehow, Sharp has eight points in nine games this season. Despite him playing at nearly a point-per-game level, he’s either been invisible on the ice, or making some poor decisions and mistakes with the puck. And the frustration is clearly building.
Playing on a line with Dave Bolland and Patrick Kane should create an offensively dominant unit, even with Bolland’s inability to win a faceoff. But outside of Kane, neither one of Sharp or Bolland has displayed any sort of consistency or effectiveness in the offensive zone.
What’s worse is the fact that Joel Quenneville continues to ride Sharp out as the third shooter in the shootouts. While that doesn’t have as much to do with his level of play, his inability to hit the net in the shootout has already cost the Hawks a couple of times.
We know Patrick Sharp is capable of being a dominant player. He’s been quietly elite the past couple of seasons, as far as his offensive output goes, with that deadly accurate shot. We just haven’t seen that same level of play from him so far this season.
And he’s growing frustrated. You can tell out on the ice with his physical play going up a level as either compensation for his lack of offensive effectiveness, or simply because he’s trying to take his struggles out on the world.
It could be a case of a guy who wasn’t playing during the lockout and is trying to get his legs back under him. But almost one-fifth of the way through the year, you’d hope he would step it up sooner, rather than later. It’s tough to call him out on it now, since it is so early, but it’s about time for Sharp to catch up with the rest of the offense and start generating some chances.