I’m doing a daily review of each Chicago Blackhawks player and giving out grades based on performance during the 2013-14 season thus far. Today, we examine Patrick Sharp.
Operating at just a shade under a point-per-game, Sharp’s offensive game has been every bit as effective as it was in 2010-11 and 2011-12. He has a shot — pun intended — to surpass his previous career high in goals (36).
Defensively, Sharp has been reliable. He never stands out in any one way as, for example, Marian Hossa does with his backchecking and takeaways, but that isn’t Sharp’s game; he’s simply quietly effective in essentially every defensive facet. This is not always true, however. When frustrated, Sharp is prone to taking shifts off and shirking responsibilities in his own zone. Still, this is true of most scoring forwards, and not a major negative.
The actual significant negative of Sharp’s 2013-14 campaign has been his proclivity to take silly, selfish penalties. His fuse is plainly a short one; Sharp is quick to get angry on the ice, especially when he feels an opponent has wronged him. He illegally retaliates to physical play with regularity (whether the physical play itself is legal or not), and referees have been penalizing him for it quite often.
When considered together with Chicago’s feeble penalty kill, this tendency to commit pointless infractions is a rather serious (and wholly unnecessary) problem.
Final Verdict: B
The goals, points and defensive contributions are great, but the repeated unnecessary penalties are not what you want out of an alternate captain and leader.