By Alexander Monaghan
UPDATE 10/6/11: Patrick Sharp will be fully healthy at the beginning of the season and will suit up next to Brandon Saad and Jonathan Toews. At this point there is no reason not to start him.
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UPDATE 9/30/11: Sharp took to the ice today, taking another step in his recovery. When questioned about how he felt, the forward sounded optimistic. From The Chicago Tribune:
“It felt good,” Sharp said. “It’s always nice to kind of rejoin the team. I’ve done my best to hang around the guys and watch practice and the intrasquad games but it’s not quite the same when you’re not particpating in the drills.”
As a fierce competitor, the 29-year-old wants to limit his man-games lost which would indicate he could be back a bit sooner than expected — like opening night against the Dallas Stars. Every day he claims is another step in the right direction so barring a setback October 7th should be his target. Definitely a sign of relief as Sharp at 50 percent is much better than needing to replace him in your lineup.
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UPDATE 9/29/11: According to the Chicago Sun-Times Sharp could be back with his teammates tomorrow after skating for five consecutive days on his own. Considering this injury has little to do with on-ice activity, we feel confident in stating he will return to the lineup right around the beginning of the season.
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UPDATE 9/26/11: Recent reports from Chicago Blackhawks training camp sound encouraging on Sharp. Although coach Joel Quenneville remains hopeful his versatile sniper will return to the lineup, he seems more focused on his current timetable and recovery. From The Chicago Tribune:
“(Sharp’s) progressing,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “I think he’s feeling good. He was out there a little bit (Sunday) and will do the same (Monday) and (Tuesday) and we’ll get a better indication after that how close he is to jumping on with us.”
Expect him to start the season off slowly, which could mean he misses Opening Night. Regardless, the versatile forward should get back in the lineup shortly and play wing with Jonathan Toews.
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UPDATE 9/17/11: Despite Sharp’s three-to-four week recovery time, he aims for opening night on October 7th. When asked when he hopes to return, Sharp was quite candid with reporters. From The Chicago Sun-Times:
“Hopefully, as soon as possible,” Sharp said. “The timeline was three to four weeks right so around the start of the season. I don’t want to miss any games so I’m pushing to play the first game of the season.”
Stay tuned for further updates on his recovery. The injury is almost guaranteed not to be a nagging one so it should not affect his draft position, especially when you factor his eight missed games last season.
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UPDATE 9/13/11: It seems like with Sharp out, Dave Bolland will move up to the second line and Marcus Kruger will receive a chance to center the third or fourth line (See full team lineup here). From ESPNChicago.com:
Then there is the issue of whether Sharp would start the season at center or wing. That decision was bound to have a trickle-down effect on the rest of the lineup. More than likely, this assuresDave Bolland will be the second-line center and it also solidifies Marcus Kruger‘s roster spot, at least throughout the preseason. Expect Kruger to line up as the third-line center until Sharp returns and possibly longer. If Kruger plays well, it could be his position to lose for the year or at least until the playoffs.
Bolland would fill a nice hole if Sharp only qualifies as a center in your fantasy hockey league. The pivot has proven more-than-capable of playing above replacement level in the past. If you feel Kruger would be a nice addition, keep in mind he is still looking for his first NHL point despite his accolades overseas. Playing with talented forwards like Brian Bickell and Michael Frolik could help him realize his potential but wait until preaseason before making any knee-jerk additions.
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Patrick Sharp underwent an emergency appendectomy this evening and will miss the majority of training camp due to the infliction. According to the team’s officials, the forward will miss 3-4 weeks, which would put him on track to at least miss training camp — which is scheduled to start this Saturday, September 17th, says ESPNChicago.com.
Numerous players around the hockey world have received emergency appendectomies, even in the last few months. In late August, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Craig Adams went under the knife and the penalty killing specialist is expected to report to training camp on-time. During last season, both Jordan Eberle and Ruslan Fedotenko underwent an appendectomy and both returned to play the rest of the season. Eberle missed a month but went on to score nine goals and 21 points in 32 games while Fedotenko scored a goal and six points over his final 18 games.
In other words, Sharp should see full strength in roughly a month.
Last season, Sharp scored 34 goals and finished the season with a career-high of 71 points. He led the reigning Stanley Cup Champions in goal scoring and powerplay markers with 12. This talented sniper is currently drafted in the 6th round among forwards like Dany Heatley, Daniel Briere and Thomas Vanek. His statistics at the end of the season will probably more than compare despite missing training camp. As a team leader with a Cup ring, Sharp should fit right back into the lineup in early-to-mid October. If Sharps’ stock sinks, make the value pick and grab this potential 40-goal scorer.