Who's counting? Not Patrick Sharp.
Just as Sharp downplayed his hot start, when he scored 10 goals in his first 11 games, the Blackhawks veteran is doing the same in the midst of his current eight-game goal drought.
Sharp does have 4 assists in those eight games and still leads the Hawks with 19 points.
“Everyone gets caught up in goal scoring, but I still think I'm producing offensively,” Sharp said. “I'm not worried about how many games I've gone without a goal or anything like that. I think I'm doing things well on the offensive side of the game. I'd like to be stronger defensively and contribute that way, but as far as my offensive stat I don't think I've slowed down at all.”
Sharp doesn't feel teams have drawn more defensive attention to him because of his hot start.
“I don't think anyone is going into games trying to shut me down,” Sharp said. “We have too many good offensive players in our locker room to do that to one player.”
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville sees Sharp as being one of the more consistent forwards since the start of the season.
“He's really helped our power play throughout this 20-game segment. He's had a very good start,” Quenneville said. “This line now with him and (Marian) Hossa (and Dave Bolland) looks like it has the makings of a line that can be productive offensively and reliable defensively.”
Full of confidence:
Viktor Stalberg already has 6 goals, but the left winger could be ready to become even more of a key contributor playing on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
“We've played together off and on for a couple weeks and it has been pretty good,” Stalberg said. “We push the pace a lot of times.”
The coaching staff has shown a lot of confidence in Stalberg and he feels it.
“My confidence is pretty high right now,” he said. “Getting pucks in the net always helps out a lot.
“The coaches have shown more and more confidence with each game that goes by and you feel it out there. If you make a mistake you're out there the next shift playing again. It's nice to know that you can make mistakes as long as they're aggressive, and I think you get better because of it.”
All is well:
Troy Brouwer didn't practice Tuesday because of a slight upper body injury, but Joel Quenneville expects the winger to play Wednesday against the Oilers.
“He should be fine,” Quenneville said.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.