Blackhawks will get great additions in Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp
BY MARK LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org March 28, 2013 10:36PM
DUCKs AT BLACKHAWKS
The facts: 7:30, CSN, 720-AM.
Updated: March 28, 2013 11:45PM
The Blackhawks’ 24-game point streak already might seem like a relic to most, but Patrick Sharp hasn’t forgotten. Technically, he’s still on it.
“I’m still undefeated,” he said with a wry smile. “That’s all I know.”
Sharp hasn’t played since he injured his shoulder on a hit by Avalanche defenseman Ryan O’Byrne on March 6 — the 24th and final game of the Hawks’ remarkable run. Since then, the Hawks are a pedestrian 4-4. On top of that, the Hawks are 1-2 without Marian Hossa, who suffered a similar injury at the hands of the same player in Colorado on March 18.
Neither Hossa nor Sharp will play Friday when the second-place Ducks — riding a four-game losing streak since their much-hyped 4-2 victory March 20 against the Hawks in Anaheim — visit the United Center. But both stars returned to practice Thursday — albeit in white, non-contact jerseys — and their comebacks are now measured in days, not weeks.
So while the Penguins have been busy adding Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow and Douglas Murray these last few days, perhaps no team in the league is poised to add more punch at the trade deadline than the Hawks. After all, Hossa and Sharp have a combined 628 goals.
“Anytime you can get healthy guys back in the lineup, it gives the guys a spark,” Sharp said. “I know I’m excited to get back. I’m sure Hossa feels the same way.”
Sharp hopes to be back sometime next week. Hossa could be back for Sunday’s game in Detroit, but he said he’ll wait until he finds the right “comfort level.”
“Conditioning’s pretty good; the strength needs to be better,” Hossa said. “Obviously, you want to make sure you’re 100 percent when you come back, instead of rushing something and hurting it again.”
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said his team’s spot in the standings — first in the league, five points ahead of the Ducks in the Western Conference and 14 points ahead of the Red Wings in the Central Division — allows him the luxury of being cautious.
“We’re going to make sure they’re more than ready and maybe give them extra time to make sure they’ll be ready,” Quenneville said.
Sharp had five goals and 13 assists in 24 games before his injury. And the Hawks, of course, were 21-0-3 in those games. It has been a frustrating few weeks for Sharp — in good times and bad — and he’s every bit as eager for his return as the Hawks are.
“It sucks being out of the lineup and watching from the sidelines,” he said. “It sucks to see the team lose — you feel you’re not doing anything to help the guys out. It also sucks to see them win a few games because you want to be a part of that. You want to be on the ice celebrating, too, selfishly. The good news is I’m coming back soon.”
NOTES: Ray Emery, fresh off his 16-save shutout of the Flames, will start Friday against his old team, the Ducks.
Emery is 12-0-0, the best start by a goalie in NHL history.
“All year long, he’s been consistent in the net, predictable, and we’re very pleased with him,” Joel Quenneville said.
† The Hawks were as surprised as everybody else to wake up to the news that Jarome Iginla had been dealt to the Penguins, not the Bruins.
“I don’t know if their cap is different than everybody else’s,” Hawks goalie Corey Crawford joked. “Seems like they’re building an All-Star team.”
† Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane sat courtside for the Bulls’ big victory Wednesday over the Heat. Sharp said that Kane, a big LeBron James fan, was nervous to meet his hero for a pregame picture. As for the game, Kane said he was rooting for the home team.
“We were happy for the Bulls, for sure,” he said. “First and foremost, we’re obviously Chicago fans in here.”
Kirk Hinrich’s takedown of James — well, it was more like James running over Hinrich and falling in the process — had the Hawks buzzing.
“I told him after the game, we should get some hockey pads on him and put him on the penalty kill or something,” Sharp said.