There was encouraging news out of Blackhawks practice on Sunday.
Coach Joel Quenneville said Patrick Sharp was making “rapid progress” from his left knee injury, which could mean the Hawks will indeed get their leading goal scorer back before the end of the regular season.
“I won’t say exactly when he’s hitting the ice, but he’s making some rapid progress here,” Quenneville said. “We’re really pleased and encouraged he’s been able to ratchet up his off-ice training and conditioning as well. I don’t have a number of days when he can get back on the ice, but we’re happy with his progress.”
Quenneville jugged his lines the day after Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Anaheim but said he wasn’t sure if that’s how they would look Monday at Detroit. The lines were:
Brouwer – Toews – Kane
Bickell – Kruger – Hossa
Kopecky – Dowell - Frolik
Stalberg – Johnson – Pisani
“These lines today, I’m not exactly sure, we’ll see going into tomorrow if we go back to the way we finished the game last night,” Quenneville said. “It’s an option. There could be a makeup of more of a traditional checking line.”
Quenneville knows he needs to get Brouwer going offensively. Brouwer hasn’t scored a goal in 17 games and has just 1 assist in that stretch.
“Whether it’s him or (Bickell), we need more physicality up front,” Quenneville said. “We need more of a net-front presence in zone or on the attack. We need those guys to be more involved.”