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.