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If it were May 1, or June 1, and not April 1, Patrick Sharp wouldn't be sitting out tonight.

"It's still not where it needs to be to play," the Blackhawks winger said of his injured shoulder. "But if it was Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, I'm sure I'd be out there. When it's ready to go, I'm going to play. I'm not going to miss games just to be cautious. I want to be out there and play whether our team's winning or losing."

That said, the Hawks clearly are being cautious with both Sharp and Hossa, neither of whom will play tonight in the first of three meetings this week against the Nashville Predators. Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said both "could play" Thursday against the Blues, but that he was playing it safe.

"They're real close," he said. "The fact we got a couple extra days here [we can be] more than cautious. More than ready, when they come back, is kind of what we're looking at."


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Patrick Sharp is congratulated by teammates after scoring a 2nd period goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the United Center on March 1. | Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

With Blackhawks winger Patrick Sharp on the shelf for a few weeks after injuring his shoulder March 6 against the Avalanche at the United Center, the Hawks have a big absence in the lineup.

Blackhawks beat writer Mark Lazerus asked during the first intermission what his Twitter followers would do to make up for a missing Sharp. Here are their thoughts:

Patrick Sharp will miss three to four weeks with the upper-body injury he suffered Wednesday against the Colorado Avalanche, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville confirmed Friday. Sharp, who was sandwiched along the boards by Ryan O'Byrne and left the ice clutching his left shoulder, will not need surgery, Quenneville said.

The rest of the injury news was good for the Hawks: Marian Hossa, Andrew Shaw and Michael Frolik all will play tonight in the rematch against Colorado at the Pepsi Center.

Hossa was a last-minute scratch Wednesday night. He said Friday that he was neither sick nor dealing with any after-effects from last April's concussion or last month's hit to the head from Vancouver's Jannik Hansen.

"This is something different," he said. "Nothing at all with what happened last time."

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By Ben Meyer-Abbott bmeyer-abbott@suntimes.com
Twitter:
@BMACST

Ben Smith practiced Monday for the first time since last Wednesday as he continued in his recovery from a concussion suffered Sept. 28.

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Jonathan Toews and his injured right shoulder continue to improve at a rapid pace.

The Hawks captain returned to practice Saturday and skated again Sunday, and now there's a chance he could play Monday night against the Kings in Los Angeles.

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Jonathan Toews practiced with the Blackhawks Saturday. It was the first time he took the ice since suffering a right shoulder injury last Tuesday against the Blues.

Hawks captain Jonathan Toews will be out two weeks with a shoulder injury suffered Tuesday night against the Blues.

The Hawks feel fortunate it's not a long-term injury. But any injury to Toews is bad news despite the severity. The Hawks are looking at playing seven games without Toews.

ST. LOUIS -- Patrick Kane is set to return from his ankle injury Tuesday against the Blues.

"I'm pretty excited and pretty happy about it," Kane said following the Hawks' morning skate at the Scottrade Center. "Skating and everything, shooting and everything, it's pretty fine. We'll see how it is during the game. Right now, it is as good as it's going to get for a while."

There weren't too many Hawks on the ice Thursday during practice at the United Center.

Here's the rundown:

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The Blackhawks placed winger Marian Hossa on injured reserved Wednesday, and recalled Jeremy Morin and Rob Klinkhammer from the Rockford IceHogs.

Blackhawks

About the blogger

Mark Lazerus was honored nationally by the Associated Press Sports Editors for three straight years at the Post-Tribune, was named one of the top three columnists in Indiana for three straight years and has won more than 20 statewide writing awards. He has covered Notre Dame for Sun-Times Media, and now covers the Blackhawks.

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