Emery to dress; Sharp likely back vs. Oilers
April, 22, 2013
By Jim Morris
Special to ESPNChicago.com
Special to ESPNChicago.com
Harry How/Getty ImagesCoach Joel Quenneville expects Patrick Sharp back on Wednesday against the Oilers.VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- As far as coach Joel Quenneville is concerned, there's no rush to get some of his injured players back into the Chicago Blackhawks' lineup.
Quenneville said left winger Patrick Sharp (upper-body injury) and defenseman Michal Rozsival (upper body) will sit out Monday's game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. Goaltender Ray Emery will dress as Corey Crawford's backup after missing two games with a lower-body injury.
Center Michal Handzus, who has played nine games since coming to Chicago in an April 1 trade from San Jose, will be a game-time decision. Quenneville didn't elaborate on Handzus' situation.
Quenneville said Sharp "is doing good" and likely will play in Wednesday night's game against the Oilers in Edmonton.
The Blackhawks' league-leading 34-5-5 record for 73 points gives the team some flexibility when it comes to dealing with injured players, Quenneville said.
"I think we have been more patient in some of the cases right now," he said. "I don't want to say names, but we want to make sure we are smart and more than ready is basically how we have been approaching it."
Sharp, who has five goals and 13 assists in 26 games this season, will miss his fifth consecutive game. He was sidelined for 14 games with an upper-body injury, then returned for two games before getting hurt again.
Right winger Patrick Kane would rather see Sharp return healthy than rush back.
"It's tough missing a player like that," said Kane, who has 21 goals and 51 points in 44 games. "I think some guys have stepped up and played pretty well with his absence.
"We will definitely look forward to getting him back, whenever he comes back. I think at this time of year, you don't want to rush anybody, especially with the playoffs around the corner."
Chicago can wrap up the Presidents' Trophy for the league's best regular-season record with a victory against Vancouver combined with a Pittsburgh Penguins loss in regulation.
With three games left on the schedule after playing the Canucks, Quenneville might consider resting some of his starters.
"Towards the end we might consider that," he said. "We have been kind of watching the minutes on our top guys.
"Hopefully we can share minutes as we go along here. If we do get a chance to rest a couple of guys at the very end, we will visit that."
The Canucks, who sit third in the Western Conference with a 25-13-7 record for 57 points, also have wrapped up a playoff spot. That doesn't mean the game will lack any of the intensity of past meetings.
"It's fun to come to Vancouver," Kane said. "It's a fun rivalry. It seems to get better and better as time goes on.
"We are going into the playoffs soon. This could be a tuneup for the playoffs. It will be a good test for us."