RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Chicago’s Patrick Sharp skated off with a new car. The rest of his Blackhawks teammates were on the winning All-Star team.
Now comes the tough part: Figuring out which of them has earned bragging rights.
“They won the game. I got the trophy,” Sharp said. “So I guess everybody’s happy.”
What will be remembered most about this All-Star game was the change in the way the rosters were built, with captains Eric Staal of Carolina and Nicklas Lidstrom of Detroit chose up sides for the teams that bore their names during an 18-round draft. Sharp wound up splitting up with his Blackhawks teammates, who all were taken by Lidstrom while Eric Staal of Carolina snatched him up in the eighth round.
Team Staal emerged as the obvious local favorite with a roster dominated by the captain’s Hurricanes teammates and family members. But it was a native of Thunder Bay, Ontario _ the hometown of Sharp and the Staals _ who wound up winning the night’s big prize.
“It’s a game where there’s lots of offense. There’s some pretty plays, lots of nice goals on both sides, and I’m honored to win the trophy,” Sharp said.
Staal selected him with the 15th overall pick of the draft during an apparent run on members of Chicago’s reigning Stanley Cup championship team. With Chicago’s Patrick Kane as one of his alternate captains, Lidstrom took Atlanta defenseman Dustin Byfuglien _ a key member of last year’s Blackhawks _ with the 14th pick and selected Chicago’s Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Toews at No. 16.
Sharp ranks fifth in the NHL with 26 goals and has 20 assists, and is one of eight players with six game-winning goals.
The left winger “has definitely been getting a little more recognition this season,” said Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith of Team Lidstrom. “For him to get the car, I’m happy for him. He works hard, he cares a lot and he definitely deserves it. He played great.”
Each of the current Blackhawks showed up on the score sheet. Toews joined Sharp with a goal and two assists apiece. Kane and Keith both assisted on a goal by Byfuglien.
Sharp had a hand in three of Team Staal’s first five goals. He set up Paul Stastny to make it 2-0 less than 3 minutes in, then assisted on Claude Giroux’s early goal to help Staal’s team go up 4-0 with less than 6 minutes in. Sharp would have had assists on three consecutive goals, but a scoring change took away his assist on Patrik Elias’ goal and awarded it to Mike Green.
Giroux returned the favor to Sharp 78 seconds into the second period, setting him up for his first All-Star goal.
“He’s got a knack for finding the back of the net,” Lidstrom said of Sharp. “He’s got a quick release _ we saw that on one or two of the goals he scored where he one-times the puck real quick. It’s not a big windup. We know from playing against him so many times he’s a very skilled player.”
After the game, Sharp was presented with an oversized, ceremonial key to a new Honda Crosstour EX-L.
“I’m just glad I can bring the trophy home, and I know that my dad and my brother will be fighting over the car,” Sharp said. “So we’ll see who wins that.”