Sharp ranks high on Hitchcock's list
As an assistant with Canada's Olympic team, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock is only one voice in the selection process.
The biggest voices belong to executive director Steve Yzerman and head coach Mike Babcock.
But if it means anything, Blackhawks winger Patrick Sharp has Hitchcock firmly in his corner when it comes to making the squad for the Games in Sochi, Russia next February.
"I think he's a guy who is obviously on the watch list close," Hitchcock said Thursday at the United Center. "He's a guy that you trust on the ice. So there's a trust factor, especially from me.
“I don't know how many voices I have in that program, but I love him as a person and like him as a player. He's a guy for me that based on his play in the last couple years is really up on the radar."
Hitchcock was with Sharp early in his career in the Philadelphia organization and has seen him become one of the game's better all-around players.
"When we had him in Philly, he was a young guy still learning," Hitchcock said. "Sharpie was able to come here when the team was rebuilding. He was like a specialist for us. He was tremendous on the power play and he was tremendous as a shootout guy. He had just come out of college and was just learning the game.
"He has developed into a great two-way player. He hasn't lost any of his offensive instincts. He's just a guy who has evolved as a complete player, but when he came to us he was an offensive wizard out of college, this guy who could create from nothing.
"He's a guy, if he doesn't go to Chicago when they're rebuilding, he maybe never gets the opportunity to grow his game because he never gets the ice time," Hitchcock said. "But because he spent those two years here when they were growing as a team he got to play in a lot of situations that normally he would not get the opportunity to, and he took advantage of it."