Patrick Sharp to miss Blackhawks home openerContinue reading.
Patrick Sharp back for Blackhawks, says “enough is enough”
Patrick Sharp — who has missed 14 straight games since suffering a shoulder injury on March 6 –will return to the lineup tonight for the Blackhawks when they face the Minnesota Wild.
“I’m not too anxious, more excited,” the left winger said after Tuesday’s morning skate at the XCel Energy Center. “I want to get out there. I’m back and it feels good to join the team. It’s always tough when you sit out for a long period of time, those first couple of shifts seem a little faster than they normally are. But we have a great team and I’m just happy to kind of fit in again.”
The initial diagnosis was for Sharp to miss three to four weeks. It’s been five, as Hawks coach Joel Quenneville was extra cautious given the team’s front-running status. Sharp has been on the ice for more than three weeks. So he’s particularly eager to get out there.
“It was frustrating because I could skate and shoot pretty good at two weeks,” Sharp said. “And it took two or three more to actually be able to take contact and do some other things to allow me to play. Then you go out there and your’e skating with the coaches and trainers and you can shoot pucks and skate good and you feel like you can play, but there’s so much more that goes into it. So that was the frustrating part. But as far as the doctors’ time frame, we’re right where we need to be.”
Sharp has been back at practice and taking contact for more than a week, so he’s not concerned about taking that first hit tonight.
“I don’t have much tension,” he said. “I’m not worried about it. The team’s done a good job of preparing me to come back and play physically. Mentally, that’s up to me to get past the injury and just know I’m confident and ready to go.”
Linemate Patrick Kane was happy to have him back.
“Sharpie’s a guy that can boost pretty much the whole lineup, from 5-on-5 play to power play to the penalty kill to 4-on-4. He plays in every situation, so he’s going to be a huge boost, for sure.”
With 10 games left in the season, and the Hawks already having clinched a playoff berth, Sharp’s goal is the same as the team’s –to get better each game and try to peak for the playoffs. After more than a month off, Sharp will have the advantage of fresh legs — and genuine excitement to be back on the ice.
“I’m hungry and fresh, ready to get out there,” he said. “You miss one game and you’re itching to get back in the lineup. I’m not even sure the number I’ve missed, but enough is enough. I’m excited to be back and happy to be with the guys again.”