Hawks winger Patrick Sharp will be out 3-4 weeks
BY MARK LAZERUS email@example.com March 8, 2013 10:40PM
Patrick Kane, Greg Zanon
Updated: April 10, 2013 6:16AM
DENVER — Patrick Sharp will miss three to four weeks with an apparent left shoulder injury, and the ripple effect will be felt by three of the Blackhawks’ four lines.
Sharp was replaced by Bryan Bickell on the second line, alongside Dave Bolland and Patrick Kane. While Kane welcomed the physical presence and strong shot Bickell brings, he’s obviously wary of disrupting the chemistry that has helped the Hawks reach the halfway point without a regulation loss.
Kane is playing arguably the best hockey of his career, so the last thing he wants to do is break in a new linemate.
“For sure,” Kane said. “You’ve played with the same linemates for 24 games now, half the season, and you really get used to playing with someone. I think it’ll be a little bit of an adjustment. We’ll see what happens. Sometimes it’s good to play with new players, but obviously we’re going to miss Sharp — he’s been a big part of our lineup for a long time here, and he plays a lot of minutes. Someone’s going to have to step up and fill that void, which won’t be that easy, I guess.”
Bickell’s promotion also breaks up the checking line that had been so effective of late. Bickell, Andrew Shaw or Viktor Stalberg had scored in seven of the last eight games (Bickell has three goals in his last four games). Hawks coach Joel Quenneville would rather have kept that trio together, but as he put it, “Somebody’s got to move there.”
Bickell and Bolland have played together before, and Quenneville was pleased with how Bickell performed in that spot after Sharp was sandwiched along the boards by Colorado’s Ryan O’Byrne midway through the third period of Wednesday’s game at the United Center.
Daniel Carcillo will move up from the fourth line to the third line to replace Bickell.
“We adapt,” Shaw said. “We’re a great team. Everyone can play with everyone. Guys are going to try to fill that role.”
Marian Hossa said that while Sharp will be missed, it’s an opportunity for other players to step into bigger roles. And he’s not worried that the consistency and chemistry will suddenly disappear without Sharp.
“We try not to think about it that way,” Hossa said. “Obviously, we know this is part of the game — injuries [are] going to happen. We just have to find a way to win hockey games without our top players.”