The weight of the world seemed to be lifted from Patrick Sharp’s shoulders Monday.
Sharp’s wife, Abby, gave birth to the couple’s second daughter Sunday afternoon, putting that worry out of the Blackhawks winger’s mind.
Sadie Ellen Sharp was born a little before 6 p.m., conveniently on a day off for the Hawks.
“Both my daughters must be Hawks fans because they were born on off-days,” Sharp joked. “She kind of came at a tough time during the Patriots game. I missed that fourth-quarter drive by (Tom) Brady, but I’ll sacrifice that.”
Now Sharp can turn his attention to scoring his first goal of the season.
“I felt great today,” Sharp said after Monday’s practice. “It’s amazing when you clear the mind a little bit how good you can feel on the ice. I had a smile on my face all day (Sunday) and today I’m happy to be back with my teammates and buddies here and I can’t wait to play hockey.”
Not only will Sharp’s next goal be the first of the season, it will be the 200th of his career. Sharp says he is not thinking about either.
“It’s always nice to score, but winning remains the most important thing,” Sharp said. “Winning those games over the weekend was big.
“It’s going to be kind of cool to get it (No. 200), but it’s not something that means a whole lot at this point right now. It’s more just getting off to a good start to the season.”
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville has been pleased with Sharp’s overall game.
“We’ve got some guys that I’m sure would love to get their first goal and go, but at the same time there are other things you can do when you’re not scoring,” Quenneville said. “Goal scorers, they want to score. I think that makes them comfortable getting one and things go from there.”
Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw also are without a goal this season.
The Hawks are 3-for-18 on the power play in five games, and Sharp knows his stats will improve as the power play does.
“It’s just a matter of getting back in the swing of things,” he said. “You can point to a lot of different things here. We’re playing a lot of games now, which I like. The power play has been a positive, but our trademark with the Blackhawks is 5-on-5 play, not just scoring goals but keeping it out of our net defensively.
“There are a couple things that we’ve mixed up that seems to be working so far. Both units have stayed the same, so there’s some familiarity there and guys are comfortable playing their roles. There are going to be peaks and valleys all season when it comes to the power play, but so far so good.”
The Hawks are getting more shots through to the net on the power play.
“”I feel like it’s not so much the shooter shooting the puck, it’s the setup of the play,” Sharp said. “You move the puck around crisp a few times and make some good passes, then all of a sudden those lanes open up and it’s easy to get it through.
“It’s when you try to take it over as an individual and slow things down and try to look for that perfect shot when things get blocked. Every shift out there on the power play I’m out there with Duncan Keith and it seems we’re using that blue line well with each other, knowing when to move it and how to move it and where to put it.
“The power play is not the main focus of the team. We won last year when our power play wasn’t very good. Five-on-5 play is always going to be our strength.”
ŸFollow Tim’s hockey reports on Twitter @TimSassone and check out his Between the Circles blog at dailyherald.com.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.