A Sharp pain: Who can fill the offensive void?

Injured Blackhawks forward will be sidelined 3 to 4 weeks

January 09, 2012|RedEye

This is the last thing Patrick Sharp and the Blackhawks wanted to hear. Not to mention Hawks fans.

After suffering an upper-body injury in Sunday night's loss to Detroit—their fourth straight--Sharp will be out three to four weeks, coach Joel Quenneville announced Tuesday.

"He's certainly had a good first half for us," Quenneville said of Sharp, who has 20 goals and 20 assists in 42 games. "We have to check better and pay attention to detail and play tighter and off of that you might get more offense. When we think we have to outscore teams and everybody has to be the one who manufactures offense is when we expose ourselves. We want to make sure we're better defensively."

Sharp's absence leaves an offensive void that must be filled, not to mention his veteran leadership and his ability to play defense. But let's start with finding a jolt of offense. Who might be able to provide that? Meet the candidates.

Patrick Kane

Sure, Kane is fourth on the Hawks with 37 points, but he has only10 goals. That's subpar for him. Last season he had 27. In 2009-10 he had 30. Step it up, Kaner.

Bryan Bickell

He's a mystery. In his first full season last year, Bickell had 17 goals and looked like a star on the rise at times. It hasn't materialized, as Bicks is sitting on four goals.

Jimmy Hayes

The rook has scored two goals in his first five games in a Blackhawks uniform. Thank you, sir, we'll take a lot more of that. "He's been really good for us in every game he's played," Quenneville said.

Ben Smith

He was called up when Sharp was placed on injured reserve, so he's the natural option. He has one goal in seven games.

Duncan Keith

Yes, he is a defenseman. Yes, his job isn't to score goals, but he usually does. During the team's championship season, Keith netted 14 goals. Last season he had seven. This year? Halfway through the season, just two.

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