The severity of damage to Patrick Sharp's left knee will likely determine the severity of damage to the Stanley Cup hopes of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Sharp, who is fifth in the NHL with 34 goals, collided with Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Rostislav Klesla during the first period of the Blackhawks' 2-1 victory Sunday night and did not return. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Sharp would have his knee examined by doctors Monday.
The Blackhawks are expected to make an announcement on Sharp on Tuesday.
"I'm sure Sharpie's frustrated and he's going to hurry back as quick as he can," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "We want him to make a full recovery and for the time being we'll have step it up and find a way."
Replacing Sharp on the team's top line with Toews and Patrick Kane won't be easy.
The responsibility to fill that role could fall on the shoulders of either Viktor Stalberg or Troy Brouwer, who have combined to score six fewer goals than Sharp this season.
Sharp was invaluable during the Blackhawks' run to the Stanley Cup in 2010. He had 11 goals and 11 assists in 22 games, including two goals in Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals that helped the Blackhawks even their series with the pesky Nashville Predators.
This isn't the first time Sharp has suffered a left knee injury. He missed 16 games during the 2008-09 season due to a knee-to-knee hit with Dallas Stars forward Steve Ott.
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