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Sharp out, hopes to return before season's end

by Staff Writer / Chicago Blackhawks
Patrick Sharp
The Chicago Blackhawks got some good news on the injury front Tuesday.

It appears that Patrick Sharp will be back before the end of the season, according to the report coach Joel Quenneville delivered after Tuesday's practice.

Sharp, 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. He was examined by doctors during Monday's off day.

"I'm sure Sharpie's frustrated and he's going to hurry back as quick as he can," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said Sunday night. "We want him to make a full recovery and for the time being we'll have to 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. Stalberg skated between Kane and Toews during Tuesday's practice.

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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