Fairly large amount of news coming out of the Blackhawks’ practice today, so I thought I would pass it along. This is, more or less, a good-news/bad-news situation, so bear with me.
First of all, Patrick Sharp’s knee injury is ~not~ season-ending. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he will miss several games. This puts the Blackhawks down two top-six forwards as we hit the final 10 games of the season. More on that in a minute.
Defenseman Brian Campbell was on the ice for practice on Tuesday, but optimism about his return to the lineup was short-lived. He said afterwards that his injury is “lingering,” and he won’t be able to say one way or the other about playing in the Panthers game until after the morning skate on Wednesday. So it is possible that we will have to try to minimize the damage caused by lovable pylon John Scott on the blue line once again tomorrow.
And this last one comes at us completely out of left field. There will be a plane landing in Chicago from Europe in the evening hours tonight carrying Blackhawks prospect center Marcus Kruger. Folks may remember him making a pretty strong showing during prospect camp this past summer. His European team’s season was over as of Sunday, and he will be joining the Blackhawks for the last 10 games of the season.
Kruger led his team in points (6G, 29A) over the 52-game season this year, and he is signed to an entry-level contract that will pay him a pro-rated $900,000. Those ten games will burn the first year of his contract, and apparently GM Stan Bowman and the organ-eye-zation felt that this was the best move. Why? Because of what they’re not saying.
This is pure speculation on my part, but I’d be willing to bet a 60-ct. of Timbits that Dave Bolland is done for the year. Bringing in a rookie straight from the European leagues, setting the first year of his contract on fire, and suiting him up for his first NHL game with barely a decent night’s sleep tells me two things: first, that they need a center to finish out the year; and second, they don’t think anyone in Rockford can do the job long-term.
There is no official word from the team, I don’t have any “insider scoop,” this is just me putting two and two together and shooting my mouth off. But I’m going to speculate that we won’t see Bolland in a Blackhawks uniform until training camp.
Hey, we knew this season was going to be rough. I don’t think anyone predicted it would be this bad, but we’re almost at the end — whatever that end might be.
Check back here on Wednesday for the preview of the ‘Hawks vs. Panthers tilt. Let’s hope the news doesn’t get any worse between now and then, shall we?
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