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Ice Man

Blackhawks star Patrick Sharp is enjoying the season of a lifetime.

 

Chicago Blackhawks left winger Patrick Sharp is playing the best hockey of his life.

It’s turning out to be quite a year for Patrick Sharp. Not only is the Blackhawks left winger on pace for his best season ever, he was also asked, for the first time, to represent Team Canada at the Winter Olympics. “It’s something I grew up dreaming of, so to be selected to the team means a great deal to me and my family,” says the 32-year-old native of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Nine Blackhawks joined him in Russia, two others with Team Canada, which won the gold medal in 2010. Only the Blues and Red Wings had as many players named to 2014 Olympic rosters. But will it be too much for a team already low on rest after last year’s championship run? “I think [the Olympics are] only going to help [the Blackhawks],” says Sharp. “The more big games you can play in, it helps you as an individual player. We’re going to take the experience from the Olympic Games and apply it to the Blackhawks games.”

It was, after all, in the months after the 2010 Olympics that the Hawks captured their first Stanley Cup in 49 years. And with the NHL regular season two-thirds over, the team is positioned roughly where they were at the same time that season. “We look at every season as a process,” says Sharp. “You want to get better every week, every month. As long as we do that after the Olympic break, we’ll be in good shape.”

Despite the 82-plus game grind, Sharp keeps it lighthearted in the locker room. He’s become well known for pulling pranks, but it may not be all just fun and games. “I play better when I’m loose and having fun, so I try to keep guys smiling in the locker room,” says the father of two infant daughters. “The pranks have kind of slowed down a bit, though, because I’m getting too much media coverage for being the prankster—now I get blamed for everything.”

Your secret is safe with us, Sharpie.

Sharp’s Hots: Stanley Cups, holidays, sleeping, Chicago summers

Sharp’s Nots: Chicago traffic, airports, bad drivers, taxis