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Sharp finds his destiny with Hawks
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff

Patrick Sharp grew up in the Flyers organization with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, winning a Calder Cup with them in the American Hockey League with the Philadelphia Phantoms in 2005.

 

Ed Lee | Staff Photographer

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Published: 5/26/2010 9:49 PM

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Patrick Sharp was devastated when the Philadelphia Flyers traded him to the Blackhawks on Dec. 5, 2005, in one of former general manager Dale Tallon's greatest heists.

Now Sharp couldn't imagine playing anywhere else.

Sharp grew up in the Flyers organization with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, winning a Calder Cup with them in the American Hockey League with the Philadelphia Phantoms in 2005.

Sharp thought he was part of the future in Philadelphia, but that changed when he was dealt to the Hawks with Eric Meloche for winger Matt Ellison and a third-round draft choice.

The Hawks considered Ellison a good prospect at the time, but he's now playing in Russia while the speedy and skilled Sharp has turned into a star.

There's no need to take a poll about who won that trade.

"The first trade is tough on everybody, whether its expected or not," Sharp said. "It was tough switching organizations. You're kind of loyal to one team for so many years and then you have to put another jersey on.

"It was difficult, but I'm thankful for the trade. I'm happy to be in Chicago and proud of how far we've come as a team."

Sharp was the second choice of the Flyers in the 2001 draft out of the University of Vermont. He thought he was on his way to being a regular in the Flyers' lineup after a big AHL playoff in 2005, when he had 21 points in 21 games in the Phantoms' Calder Cup run.

But a few months later he was off to Chicago. He was close with Richards and Carter back then, but it's going to be all business with the Stanley Cup at stake starting Saturday in Game 1 at the United Center.

"Carter and Richards were guys that I played with a little bit and won a championship with in the American League," Sharp said. "The closest I am with anybody over there is the trainer, Derek Settlemyre, who was the Phantoms' trainer for three years with me and then he graduated to the NHL with me.

"He's my friend, but not for the next couple weeks."

Sharp went from the buzz of playing in Philadelphia, a great hockey town, to playing in the United Center before crowds of fewer than 10,000.

The Hawks weren't very good when Sharp arrived, which made his adjustment even tougher.

These days Sharp says there isn't a better place to play than Chicago, which rediscovered the Hawks two years ago and now has gone Cup crazy.

"It's not just this week that you look back on how it was," Sharp said. "The last couple seasons this organization has treated the players first class and the fans have come out to support us.

"It's kind of neat to have hockey back on the Chicago scene and I guess this week is kind of the pinnacle. We've gotten to where we want to be with one more series to go."

Jonathan Toews spoke Wednesday about how the team wants to win it all for guys such as Sharp, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook who were around for bad old days.

"For the guys that have been here even longer than I have, you think how far this organization has come from just a few years ago," Toews said.