The Blackhawks returned to Chicago on Saturday following a grueling eight-game road trip. The travel weary Hawks responded to the sold-out crowd at the United Center with a 6-2 victory over the Dallas Stars, but at the cost of injuries to two key players.
Hawks Stars Patrick Sharp and Nikolai Khabibulin saw their homecoming marred almost immediately upon their return to the Windy City. Goal-tender Khabibulin sat out Saturday’s game completely, suffering from a non-disclosed lower body injury that invariably refers to a player’s groin.
Sharp managed to remain injury-free a full 39 seconds into the game, before suffering a knee injury that appeared serious. The center limped off the ice and did not return.
Both players are keys to the teams success so far this season, and team doctors were quick to order them into bed.
“This is totally unfair,” said Sharp after being confined to his room indefinitely. “The other guys get to go out and have fun. I promised Coach Quenneville I’d be careful and not roughhouse until my knee felt better, but he said ‘No way.’ Man, I’d give anything to pelt Toews with a snowball right now.”
Khabibulin was more even tempered in his reaction, “Back in Russia we have a saying, ‘The man who can’t keep up with the plough is left as a feast for the wolves.’ I prefer just being stuck in bed.”
Number of the game: 24
No. 24 Martin Havlat tallied two goals and an assist against the Stars. With the injury to Sharp, Havlat will be expected to provide the veteran leadership the Hawks need going into the playoffs, particularly hazing the younger players.