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updated: 1/9/2012 6:01 PM

Sharp's injury doesn't change overall picture for Hawks

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  • Patrick Sharp, who scored his 20th goal of the season in the first period Sunday night against the Red Wings, will be out 3-4 weeks with a broken left wrist.

      Patrick Sharp, who scored his 20th goal of the season in the first period Sunday night against the Red Wings, will be out 3-4 weeks with a broken left wrist.
    Associated Press

 
 

Don't expect Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman to rush into making a trade just because Patrick Sharp will miss the next 3-4 weeks with a broken left wrist.

That doesn't mean Bowman won't pull off a deal before Sharp returns, but any trades the GM might make before the NHL's Feb. 27 deadline will be done with winning a Stanley Cup in mind, not getting through the next month.

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Sharp, after all, is coming back. His injury doesn't change the fact the Hawks still need a top-five defenseman and a second-line center. I'll add to that list a left wing to play with Jonathan Toews.

Bowman has the cap space to upgrade a roster that has shown cracks and figures to be tested even more by the loss of Sharp, who was on pace to score 40 goals.

"We're always talking about ways of bettering our club," coach Joel Quenneville said Monday. "We'll see on that, but I think you've got to commend the kids who have come up and played in a short time."

Three of those kids -- Jimmy Hayes, Andrew Shaw and newly recalled Ben Smith -- will be asked to help fill the void left by Sharp's injury, at least in the short term.

"Hayes might get a better opportunity," Quenneville said. "He's been really good for us in every game he's played, and Shaw has played well as well. Ben was really good for us last year and he's been really good (at Rockford)."

Sharp suffered a broken bone in his left wrist in the first period of Sunday's 3-2 loss to Detroit. No surgery will be necessary.

It's not clear if Sharp was injured on a slash from the Red Wings' Jiri Hudler after he scored a goal at 4:19 of the first period, or from a fall.

"It could have been," Quenneville said when asked if Hudler's slash broke Sharp's wrist.

However, Sharp played four more shifts after the slash. He eventually left the game later in the first period after falling on his hand and wrist. Sharp took one shift after the fall, then headed to the dressing room.

Replacing Sharp won't be easy however Quenneville and Bowman attempt to try.

"He certainly has had a good first half for us," Quenneville said. "We have to check better and pay attention to detail, play tighter, and off that we might get more offense.

"I think when we think we've got to outscore teams and everybody's thinking they've got to be the one to manufacture offense is when we expose ourselves."

Sharp is third on the Hawks in scoring behind Marian Hossa and Toews with 40 points. His 20 goals ranks second behind Toews' 22.

"Obviously, that's a huge loss for us," goalie Corey Crawford said. "You guys know what he can bring. Just his presence in the room and having him there just makes you that much more confident in the room and going out on the ice.

"All the teams deal with the same sort of stuff, so you can't really use that as an excuse. Obviously, we'll miss him, but we have a lot of other guys that can do the job."

Now is the time the Hawks really need Patrick Kane to bust out of his nearly two-month goal drought. Kane has only 3 goals in the last 23 games.

"I thought his game (Sunday) was where it needs to be," Quenneville said. "Off of that, I'm sure things will develop if you just keep persevering. I thought last night was a recipe for getting out what he's been going through."

If the Hawks' timetable for Sharp is correct, he should be back at some point during the nine-game road trip that starts Jan. 31 in Vancouver.

"You want to have stretches where you face some adversity," Quenneville said. "You find out about your team and you find out about individuals. The time that you're in it is the hard part."

•Follow Tim's Hawks reports via Twitter @TimSassone and check out his Between the Circles blog at dailyherald.com.

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