The Blackhawks have come upon their first bit of adversity in the form of a key injury.
Winger Patrick Sharp will miss anywhere from 3-4 weeks, the team confirmed Friday, with the left shoulder injury he suffered Wednesday against Colorado when he was checked hard into the glass by Avs defenseman Ryan O’Byrne.
Sharp, who will not require surgery, is the Hawks’ third leading scorer with 18 points.
“You can look up and down the lineup and say he’s maybe the most important forward because he plays in all situations like Johnny (Toews) and (Marian) Hossa, too,” linemate Patrick Kane told Blackhawks TV on Friday. “He plays penalty kill, power play, 5-on-5, 4-on-4, so there’s going to be a lot of ice time that needs to be filled there.
“He’s a big part of the lineup. He’s obviously a great offensive player and a great leader on the team so we’ll miss him for sure.”
Bryan Bickell got the first crack at replacing Sharp at left wing on the second line with Kane and Dave Bolland.
“Patrick is such a great offensive player,” Marian Hossa said. “Obviously somebody else will have to step up and fill the spot, but we’ve got some guys waiting for this opportunity. Injuries are part of the game and we know they’re going to happen. We just have to find a way to keep winning hockey games without one of our key players.”
Bryan Bickell will see if he can keep the hot stick by taking over for Patrick Sharp on the second line.
“We’ll start him there and see how it goes,” coach Joel Quenneville told reporters. “He finished the game there the other night and did a good job.
“He’s been more consistent and more physical. He’s been more consistent defensively. I think he’s got an awareness to his own end play as well. He just seems like he has more pace to his game, that’s probably the thing that stands out most.”
It’s risky to break up the third line of Andrew Shaw, Bickell and Viktor Stalberg, as well as they have been playing. Daniel Carcillo took over for Bickell on the third line Friday against the Avs.
Marian Hossa, Andrew Shaw and Michael Frolik all were back in the lineup Friday. Hossa missed one game with an upper body injury while Frolik sat two games with the flu.
“That’s not an issue anymore,” Hossa told Blackhawks TV. “This was something different and nothing to do with what happened before. I tried to see how it feels in the warm-ups and I didn’t feel 100 percent. The smart decision was to take the day off and play the next day.”
Shaw was back after leaving Wednesday’s game in the second period after getting elbowed in the head by the Avs’ Paul Stastny.
The eight-year, $66 million contract center Ryan Getzlaf got from Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray on Friday raised a lot of eyebrows around the NHL for its value.
It could have an impact on what the Hawks do when Jonathan Toews’ deal runs out after the 2014-15 season.
LeBron James of the Miami Heat was enjoying the Hawks’ record run.
“Hey Chicago Blackhawks, u guys are AWESOME!! #streaking,” James tweeted on Thursday.
To which Patrick Kane replied: “Back at you, LeBron. Keep rolling.”
The Heat had won 16 straight going into Friday’s game against Philadelphia.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.