Is Sharp headed to the Olympics?
As an assistant with Canada's Olympic team, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock is only one voice in the selection process.
The loudest voices belong to executive director Steve Yzerman and head coach Mike Babcock.
But if it means anything, Blackhawks winger Patrick Sharp has Hitchcock firmly in his corner when it comes to making the squad for the Games in Sochi, Russia next February.
"I think he's a guy who is obviously on the watch list close," Hitchcock said Thursday at the United Center. "He's a guy that you trust on the ice. So there's a trust factor, especially from me.
"I don't know how many voices I have in that program, but I love him as a person and like him as a player. He's a guy for me that based on his play in the last couple years is really up on the radar."
Hitchcock was with Sharp early in his career in the Philadelphia organization and has seen him become one of the game's better all-around players.
"When we had him in Philly, he was a young guy still learning," Hitchcock said. "Sharpie was able to come here when the team was rebuilding. He was like a specialist for us. He was tremendous on the power play and he was tremendous as a shootout guy. But he had just come out of college and was just learning the game.
"He has developed into a great two-way player. He hasn't lost any of his offensive instincts. He's just a guy who has evolved as a complete player, but when he came to us he was an offensive wizard out of college, this guy who could create from nothing.
"He's a guy, if he doesn't go to Chicago when they're rebuilding, he maybe never gets the opportunity to grow his game because he never gets the ice time," Hitchcock said. "But because he spent those two years here when they were growing as a team he got to play in a lot of situations that normally he would not get the opportunity to, and he took advantage of it."
Bickell not frustrated:
Left wing Bryan Bickell, who still was without a goal going into Thursday's game against St. Louis, feels the chances are there, it's just that the puck isn't going in for him.
"I've just got to stick with it," Bickell said. "I know they're going to come. I know I'm getting opportunities and I just need to capitalize. If I wasn't getting opportunities I'd probably be thinking what's going on, but the coaches and my teammates have said just stick with it and be ready for the opportunities when they come."
Ken Hitchcock got a chuckle when told Jonathan Toews' comment from Wednesday that it seemed like the Blues were more interested in playing hockey than engaging the Hawks after whistles last week with rough stuff.
"Rough stuff?" Hitchcock said. "That goes with the game of ice hockey when you don't like the other team.
"I don't know if we're more focused on the offense, we're more focused on puck control and the ability to maintain possession of the puck.
"We'll try to not hit Jonathan today."
With Michal Rozsival unable to play Thursday because he was ill, Sheldon Brookbank was in the lineup against St. Louis ... Joel Quenneville said Rozsival wouldn't play Saturday against Toronto either and that Mike Kostka would face his former teammates ... After saying Tuesday he still wasn't over the loss last week in St. Louis when Alex Steen scored with 21.1 seconds to play, Quenneville was in a better mood on Thursday. "I'm over it now," he joked.
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