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He returns this week.
Just a guess, of course, but a good one. The time is right and the injury is just about healed.
For a while there, I didn't think Patrick Sharp would be able to make it back in the short term. It was almost two weeks ago that the Blackhawks winger crashed into the boards in an awkward way and banged up his shoulder. It looked like he might be out for a relatively long stretch, but all indications are that he will return to game action at some point in the next seven days - or at the latest, the week after that.
My money's on Wednesday against the Ducks.
After all, the Ducks have emerged as the Hawks' only rival for best record in the Western Conference. Heading into this week the Hawks (23-2-3) are, almost unbelievably, only five points ahead of Anaheim (20-3-4). And the Ducks have a game in hand.
That's a game he's going to want to make. Otherwise, look for him on the ice next Monday against the Kings.
Of course, I may be in trouble for even mentioning that Sharp's injury is to his shoulder. Over the weekend, the organization was still using the ridiculous "upper body injury" to describe it. The Tribune's Chris Kuc felt the need to write "A source said the injury is to Sharp's shoulder."
How about saying, "According to what we all saw and verified by the replay, Sharp skated away from the awkward collision slowly, cradling his arm in such a fashion as to eliminate the possibility that the injury was to anything other than the shoulder."
Greatest Show On Ice
The goal everyone was talking about in the Hawks' 8-1 shellacking of the Dallas Stars on Saturday night.
But the truth is there were many better goals featuring better teamwork earlier on. My personal favorite was the beautiful two-man game Kane and Marian Hossa played on the fifth tally.
You don't think Sharp wants back in on this as quickly as possible? He hadn't been having a big scoring season before he was injured and there won't be enough games left when he returns to pile up any sort of impressive points total. But there is so much offensive talent on this team that he has to be desperate to get back into the mix just for the fun of it.
Jim "Coach" Coffman is our man on Mondays. He welcomes your comments.