Jonathan Toews' demeanor said it all. The Blackhawks center, who's epitomized by his seriousness, was relaxed, funny and content Sunday night at the All-Star Game.
In the end, it was just good for Toews and his Hawks All-Star teammates — defenseman Duncan Keith and forwards Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane — and their coaches — Joel Quenneville and Mike Haviland — to get away from the grind of a season marred by inconsistencies.
''It's different because you're always answering the same questions [elsewhere],'' Toews said. ''Back home, it's always about a win or loss and what you have to do. Sometimes you just talk about the simple things, what the team needs to do better and this and that.
''[At the All-Star Game], it's just a lot of guys mixing it up and having fun with the media and the fans. It's a good time for everybody.''
By the end of the weekend, nobody had a better time than Sharp, who was named the MVP of the game after a goal, two assists, five shots and a plus-2 rating. It may have been in a losing effort, as Nicklas Lidstrom's team defeated Eric Staal's team 11-10, but Sharp did more than enough to show he belongs among the league's best
Sharp, the Hawks' leading goal scorer, was one of the most notable omissions on the All-Star ballot when it came out in November. The NHL added him to the All-Star Game this month, but being named MVP is vindication.
''I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bothered by it,'' Sharp said of the ballot. ''It was motivation to play well. .?.?. I'm proud to be a Blackhawk in the All-Star Game, and things worked out.''
It was even better to do it in front of his parents, Ian and Ruth Ann Sharp, after inclement weather affected their travel plans. The Sharps' flight from Newark, N.J., was canceled, but they were fortunate enough to meet people from Raleigh, jump in a minivan and drive from midnight to 8 a.m. to make the game.
Sharp said the Honda Crosstour EX-L he received for winning the MVP award most likely will go to his other brother, Chris.
MVP Sharp sticks it to 'em
Chicago Sun-Times | Jan 31