Blackhawks teammates needled the newly 32-year-old Patrick Sharp about Friday becoming old timers' day, but it was indeed some cagey blue-line lingering that created the chance for his first birthday goal.

His next arrived via a speed-of-sound slap shot. The third was a product of outworking a defenseman for a puck in the slot. But in a 7-2 dismantling of the Avalanche at the United Center, it was Sharp's determined back check that spurred someone else's scoring rush that seared into memory.

He is thermonuclear lately, having what his coach deems his best season. The assumption is that Team Canada officials shaping an Olympics roster ought to be watching, intently.