58th NHL All-Star Game

All-Star Game MVP Patrick Sharp gets one over on his game-winning Chicago teammates


You don’t see it too often that a player from the losing team wins the MVP award. We’ve seen goalies do it in the Stanley Cup finals with then Anaheim goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere doing it in 2003 against the Cup-winning Devils and Ron Hextall doing the same taking his 1987 Flyers team to a seventh game against Gretzky’s Oilers.

In the All-Star Game where there’s a wealth of offense all over the place, Chicago’s Patrick Sharp took home this year’s MVP award thanks to the fan’s vote. Sharp finished the game with a goal and two assists and the admiration of the fans. What’s more stunning is that the fans couldn’t show their love for him in the voting leading up to the All-Star Game. When asked if being left off the initial ballot for the game motivated him, he was candid about his thoughts.

“I guess I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bothered by it. But it was motivation to play well this year and I really can’t argue with it.”

People talk all the time about how it seems impossible for players to really get motivated for anything that has to do with the All-Star Game but hearing Sharp put it that way was fascinating. Perhaps next year the NHL will start selectively leaving players off the ballot to irk them into both playing in the game and putting on a show.

As for getting the award on the losing team while his teammates Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, and Jonathan Toews played for the winning Team Lidstrom, whether or not that gives him bragging rights over his teammates is up for debate.

“I think this will be a topic of conversation, definitely. I’ll be sure to bring it up a few times [on the flight home]. Jonathan and I have some unfinished business with the shooting targets there yesterday, the accuracy shooting. So we’ll have something to do back in Chicago.”

It’d be fun to be a fly on the wall for that discussion.

For Sharp though getting the award is impressive considering the massive statistical numbers put up by guys on the winning side. Loui Eriksson had two goals and two assists, Shea Weber had four assists and was a +6, Anze Kopitar had two goals, Jonathan Toews had a goal and two assists, Martin Havlat had three assists, and Nick Lidstrom had an assist and was a +7. Lidstrom’s +7 is the highest plus/minus since Adam Oates had a +7 in 1991.

Being a member of the defending champions and having a high profile in Chicago certainly doesn’t hurt matters for Sharp but for now he’s just going to have fun bringing the trophy home with his family.

“I didn’t want to let them down. Their flight got canceled out of Newark, so they met some people from Raleigh and jumped in a minivan and drove from midnight to 8 a.m. just to be here to watch the game.”

A long journey made easier even in defeat. Not bad for a weekend.


Lucic: If I wanted to hurt Couture, ‘I would have hurt him’


Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.

Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.

This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.

“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”

While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”

And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.

Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.

In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.

Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks

Torres apologizes to Silfverberg and Sharks


A statement from Raffi Torres:

“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”

A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:

“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”

Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.