By Ben Meyer-Abbott
Back from playing for Canada at the International Ice Hockey World Championships in Finland and Sweden, Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp said his wrist is fine and has already started to train for next season.
"The wrist is good. It held up the last 30 or 40 games there and I just moved out of my house carrying a bunch of heavy boxes," Sharp said at an appearance at the St. Louise De Marillac school in LaGrange Park.
Sharp also said he isn't worried about the about the off-season activities of teammate Patrick Kane and the ensuing media firestorm after Kane was caught on camera apparently drunk in Madison, Wis. during Cinco de Mayo weekend.
"He lives a pretty famous lifestyle. Everyone can recognize him wherever he goes and he's in the public eye quite a bit," Sharp said. "I think it's more of a personal matter, to be honest with you as far as everything that he is dealing with. It's better that he answers those questions. He's my friend, he's my teammate, I love the guy and I'm going to be behind him no matter what."
The two are close and Sharp, 30, said he and Kane, 23, often talks with Kane about the responsibilities involved in being a professional hockey player.
"Sure, we talk all the time about what it is to be a professional and how to carry yourself and I think a guy like Kaner, he knows that," Sharp said. "It's just he finds himself getting his picture taken because of who he is. There's nothing that I'm going to say to him that is going to help him. He's a kid with a good head on his shoulders and I'm not worried about him at all."
Sharp also talked about the challenge it can be to be under the level of scrutiny that Kane finds himself.
"It's tough for a guy like me and I know that he gets it two or three times as bad as I do," Sharp said. "Every time he's out in public people want to meet him and take pictures and film him. It's a different way to kind of live your life. But for the amount of success that he's had at such a young age, he's handled it pretty good."
There are many who would disagree with that assessment. Regardless, Sharp said what Kane does off the ice isn't a distraction from what happens with the Hawks.
"I don't think that people's off ice things can distract [from] what happens inside a locker room," Sharp said. "There's a lot going on whether it's that situation or someone's personal family issues, there's a lot of things that happen throughout the course of a year. You've got to remember that your teammates are your family and that's the biggest thing."