Sharp out 3-4 weeks with upper-body injury

636670.png

Sharp out 3-4 weeks with upper-body injury

Updated: Monday, Jan. 9 at 4:24 p.m.

Injuries happen. Patrick Sharp is the latest to be felled by one. But for every injury theres an opportunity for someone else to step up, and the Blackhawks are looking for those guys to do so now.

The Blackhawks will be without Sharp for the next 3-4 weeks with an upper-body injury he sustained scoring his 20th goal of the season -- Sharp was slashed near his handwrist as he was scoring. Sharp was placed on injured reserve late Monday afternoon. Its a tough blow, for sure, especially for a team thats still looking for its first victory in January (0-3-1) after a tremendous December.

But whether it comes from veteran guys or the players recently recalled from Rockford -- and that includes Ben Smith, who was recalled late this afternoon -- the Blackhawks will have to use that pack mentality to get them through Sharps absence.

Anyones misfortune is someone elses opportunity to prove that they can also be in this league, said Andrew Shaw, whos been doing just that in his three games with the Blackhawks. Its a misfortune for (Sharp) but if we go out there and keep working, good things will happen.

Sharp has the teams third-highest point total with 40 (20 goals, 20 assists). But its not about one guy replacing Sharp; its about the Blackhawks regaining that balance where everyone is contributing on both sides of the puck.

He had a good first half for us. I just think that compliments what were looking for, what were trying to reinforce: pay attention to detail, play tighter and off of that we may get more offense, coach Joel Quenneville said. When we think we have to outscore teams and everyone has to be the one to manufacture offense is when we expose ourselves.

And as Shaw said it opens the door for the opportunistic. The Blackhawks have been happy with what Shaw and Jimmy Hayes have done in their few games here recently and Smith gets another chance to show the game he had during the playoffs last spring.

You see (Hayes and Shaw) come in these last few games and have been putting points on the board. But you know what, it needs to be a team effort with (Daniel) Carcillo and Sharp out a couple of games, Bryan Bickell said. Thats what we need to do to get out of this slump.

The Blackhawks have been pretty fortunate with injuries thus far this season. But eventually this happens to every team every season. The good teams get the efforts from everyone and push through it.

Blackhawks assistant Kevin Dineen appreciates interview opportunities

Blackhawks assistant Kevin Dineen appreciates interview opportunities

Kevin Dineen is back with the Blackhawks but there were times this summer you wondered if another team would take him away.

The Blackhawks’ assistant coach was a major candidate for the Colorado Avalanche head coaching job, according to the Denver Post, following Patrick Roy’s surprising departure. There were probably other inquiries, too.

“It’s always nice to go through a process of talking about the way you do your business. It’s also a reflection of where you are,” said Dineen following the Blackhawks’ White-Red scrimmage on Saturday. “No. 1, you have to get permission to do that, and the Blackhawks have been great about giving me the opportunity to go out and do that. But also, when you have success, a lot of people want to get your feedback or whatever it is.”

Dineen’s name will likely come up whenever there’s a coaching vacancy. He coached the Florida Panthers from 2011-13 and coached Team Canada women’s team to a gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Dineen will get another opportunity in the NHL but for now, life is good in Chicago.

[SHOP: Gear up for the 2016-17 season, Blackhawks fans!]

“For me, I couldn’t be happier right here,” he said. “I have a great person and hockey mind to work with in Joel [Quenneville]. But you know, down the line, those things play their way out and we’ll see where it goes.”

Arriving soon

Patrick Kane, Ville Pokka and Michal Kempny will join the Blackhawks’ training camp on Tuesday. The three finished up round-robin World Cup of Hockey play with their respective teams on Thursday.

Dineen said there’s a chance one of the defensemen, Pokka or Kempny, play in Wednesday night’s preseason game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“They’ll get into the swing of things here on Tuesday,” Dineen said. “So that’ll give them a good rest after a long, tough September, and we expect them to hit the ice flying.”

Briefly

  • Duncan Keith will skate during one of the Blackhawks’ practices on Sunday and Monday.
     
  • Team White defeated Team Red 4-3 in Saturday’s scrimmage at the United Center. Spencer Abbott led Team White with two goals.

Alexandre Fortin taking advantage of Blackhawks tryout

Alexandre Fortin taking advantage of Blackhawks tryout

For Alexandre Fortin, the last few months have certainly been memorable.

It all started earlier this summer, when Blackhawks scout Alexandre Rouleau contacted Fortin’s agent: Fortin was invited to the team’s prospect camp. He did so well there that he was invited to the rookie tournament in Traverse City, Mich., last week. And now, the 19-year-old is here on a training-camp tryout.

Yeah, it was quite a summer. And now Fortin would like to turn it into just as memorable of an autumn.

Fortin assisted on a goal in Saturday’s scrimmage, part of the Blackhawks’ training camp festival at the United Center. The Blackhawks are going to be keeping an eye on Fortin, who’s been impressive since that July prospect camp.

“I like his willingness to learn. Those same things you talk about, immediately it translates right into the next shift,” Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen said. “He’s a smart, cerebral kid who has a nice offensive skillset he’s been able to show early. He’s off to a really good start and trying to find a way into one of our exhibition games.”

[SHOP: Gear up for the 2016-17 season, Blackhawks fans!]

Fortin had 19 goals in 54 games last season with Rouyn-Noranda of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Just to get a chance with the Blackhawks is motivation enough, although Fortin already had plenty. The Quebec native was passed over in two NHL drafts, much like former Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw.

“I had two years where I didn’t get drafted, and it’s always hard mentally. But some guys never get drafted and have a good hockey career,” Fortin said. “I worked a lot in the summer just to be ready to try and do the same thing I did in prospect camp.”

Fortin also got some advice from family; his uncle is former NHL goaltender Jean-Sébastien Giguère, who won a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007.

“For sure, I had a couple of meetings with him just before I came here. He had a great career. He helped me on that. I can call him every time, ask him questions,” Fortin said. “It’s good to see the veteran guys. You have to use them as an example. It’s what I want to do. I have to learn how to be a pro.”

Fortin doesn’t know what the future holds but he’s getting a chance with the Blackhawks, something he didn’t foresee when the summer began. And with that chance, anything can happen.

“You have to stay focused on your goal,” Fortin said. “You know my life has changed a few times just with what I’ve done here. We’ll see after, but I’ll keep doing what I’m doing now.”