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Olympics / Sports

Canada forward Patrice Bergeron (37) tries to get off a shot from behind the goal but is defended by Austria defenseman Mario Altmann (41) during the third period in a men's hockey game at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Friday, February 14, 2014. Canada defeated Austria 6-0. (Harry E. Walker/MCT)

Patrick Sharp scratched off of Team Canada

SOCHI, Russia -- When Patrick Sharp got to Bolshoy Ice Dome, he got the news.

The Hawks and Team Canada winger wouldn't play in Canada's 6-0 victory over Austria on Friday.

Sharp was a healthy scratch as coach Mike Babcock searches for the right combinations for the team seeking a second consecutive Olympic gold medal.

Sharp did not register a shot on goal in 14 minutes, 21 seconds in Canada's 3-1 win over Norway on Thursday while skating on a line with Rick Nash and Hawks teammate Jonathan Toews. Matt Duchene replaced Sharp in the lineup for Canada's thumping on Friday. Babcock said informing NHL players they are sitting out is difficult.

"It's ridiculous, actually," Babcock said. "You tell an athlete who competed hard and did things right that he's not playing -- that's no fun. If you're (Sharp), for example, you're a high-, high-end player. I grab him when he's walking in (Friday) to tell him that he's not playing, and he doesn't ask me why. It's good he doesn't ask me why because I've got no reason why.

"These are good men, good people that are giving their time to represent Canada. It's got to be hard on them. The only benefit they can gain from this experience is when they go back to their teams and the guy that's shaking their hand as they're walking in after the game who's scratched all the time, they're going to have more appreciation for them and how hard it is for them."

Toews, who is Sharp's roommate during the Games in Sochi, talked with his teammate.

"It's not easy," Toews said. "I'm sure he's ... not happy, but I think anyone in that position wants to play coming this far. We know Sharpie will be ready for any chance he gets, and when he does get that chance he's going to make a difference."

That chance will come Sunday when Canada faces Finland in the final preliminary-round game of the tournament as Babcock announced Sharp would be back in the lineup.

(c)2014 Chicago Tribune

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Distributed by MCT Information Services

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CANADA


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