As the Chicago Blackhawks brass does whatever they do during the waning moments of the trade deadline, one of their stars will be back in the lineup tomorrow.
Marian Hossa will play, but Patrick Sharp is still not ready, as the Blackhawks prepare to host the St. Louis Blues at the United Center on Thursday night. For Hossa, the time is now to return from a shoulder injury that’s sidelined him since mid-March.
“I felt good today,” he said. “So there’s no reason to wait longer.”
Sharp, however, isn’t feeling as good about his shoulder injury yet.
“It needs to be 100 percent to come back, especially with the situation we’re in,” Sharp said of the first-place Blackhawks. “It sucks missing games. When it’s ready, I’ll play for sure. It’s tough because I’ve been skating for three weeks now, I can shoot the puck under control and I’ve been doing it for a long time. It’s frustrating that I’m that close, but there are some limitations with it.”
Patrick Kane was ill on Wednesday but is expected to play Thursday night. Corey Crawford will get the start in net. Dave Bolland, who left Monday’s game after blocking a shot, practiced today and is expected to play tomorrow night.
Meanwhile, where will new acquisition Michal Handzus fit in? He practiced with the fourth line today, going back and forth from wing to center. But perhaps Handzus starts, at least, with the Blackhawks’ second line in Sharp’s absence.
“He can play a number of roles for us. He can play both wings and center,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “He’s a smart player, versatile in a lot of ways. We like his experience, his size, his thought process. We like the person we’re bringing into the locker room.”
Daniel Carcillo left today’s practice but coach Joel Quenneville said he should be fine, that it was more precautionary that he departed.