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.