Emotional Sharp announces retirement after Blackhawks loss
When Patrick Sharp showed up on the ice wearing an "A" on his jersey, you knew something was up.
Then came an emotional, moving video montage during a TV timeout in the third period.
Then, after the Hawks dropped their home finale 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues on Friday, Sharp's teammates wouldn't retreat to the locker room until the 36-year-old veteran of 1,080 NHL games did a victory lap in front of an adoring United Center crowd.
The roars went on and on as Sharp made his way from section to section, raising his stick and saying numerous "thank yous" along the way.
Ten minutes later, surrounded by a throng of media in front of his locker stall, Sharp welled up and barely held it together as he announced he's retiring after Saturday's game in Winnipeg.
"It was a tough game out there," Sharp said. "Tough to concentrate with what was going on inside my head.
"But thankful that I was able to do that and the Hawks put that video on for me in the third, which was really special. The guys stayed out on the ice and (them) making me do a lap was something I'll always remember."
Sharp, who was an alternate captain during Stanley Cup runs in 2010, '13 and '15, received that honor once again thanks to Patrick Kane's urging beforehand.
"He had some touching words after the game," Sharp said, his voice quivering, "and it meant a lot."
Even though he wouldn't say it publicly until Friday, Sharp has known this moment was coming for some time. After a two-year stint with Dallas, Sharp returned to Chicago on a one-year deal worth $1 million.
He came back with dreams of another playoff berth. Another deep run. Heck, even another Stanley Cup.
It didn't happen for myriad reasons, but that doesn't mean Sharp regrets his decision.
"Chicago's my home and it's my family's home," he said. "We mentioned that when we left the first time.
"I'm grateful that I was able to come back and play this year. I know it hasn't been the season that we've all wanted, but it really does mean a lot to me."
Sharp, drafted by the Flyers in 2001, first came to Chicago on Dec. 5, 2005 when general manager Dale Tallon executed one of the best trades in the history of the franchise.
All Sharp did was pump in 249 regular-season goals for the Hawks and another 42 in the playoffs. Only Bobby Hull, Denis Savard, Stan Mikita, Kane and Steve Larmer have more in team history.
In his prime, Sharp was one of the fastest players in the league and possessed a wicked shot -- one he was never afraid to use.
"When I think of Sharpy I think of him over there on that right side one-timing the puck in that area where all of a sudden he scored some big goals," Quenneville said.
As for Sharp's favorite memories ...
"Obviously winning the Stanley Cup the third time on home ice was cool," he said. "Just generally speaking, from 2005 until now, how far we've come as an organization and as a team.
"All the great players I've played with. I'm lucky to be part of it to be honest with you. Blackhawks are a family from the top down. You probably hear that a lot from us, but I truly feel a part of it.
"I know my immediate family feels that as well."
They all certainly felt it Friday during a night -- and a game -- Patrick Sharp will never forget.