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Blackhawks' Sharp to miss a few weeks with lower-body injury

Associated Press

3/22/2011 6:20:12 PM

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks leading goal-scorer Patrick Sharp is expected to miss at least the next two weeks with an injured left knee.

"We hope to have him back before the end of the regular season," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Tuesday. "It's where he's at right now."

Sharp suffered the injury late in the first period of Chicago's 2-1 win a Phoenix on Sunday in a collision with Coyotes defenceman Rostislav Klesla. Sharp had to be helped from the ice and was favouring the knee, though Quenneville said only that it was a "lower-body injury."

"It could have been worse for sure," Quenneville said. "It's not long term, but right now long term is basically how we're looking at it."

Sharp has recently played left wing on Chicago's top line with centre Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. He has 34 goals and 34 assists, and ranks second on the Blackhawks and 11th in the NHL in points with 68.

"It always hurts to be missing one of your top players, especially your top goal scorer," Toews said. "Sharpie has been great for us in the last couple of months while we've been chasing a playoff spot."

Sharp's injury is the latest in a series to defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago, which is battling to secure a post-season berth in the congested Western Conference race with 10 games remaining.

Centre Dave Bolland has been out since March 9 with a concussion and his return date is unknown. Defenceman Jordan Hendry suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in a game on Feb. 27. He underwent reconstructive surgery and won't return until next season.

Defenceman Brian Campbell is nursing a lower-body injury that has kept him out of the lineup for all but a few shifts since March 8. The condition is considered day-to-day.

The Blackhawks will bring in 20-year-old Swedish prospect Marcus Kruger to help. He could arrive in time for Chicago's game against Florida on Wednesday.

Kruger, the Hawks' fifth-round draft pick (149th overall) in 2009, was signed to a three-year contract in June but decided to play the first year of it with Djurgarden of the Swedish League. That season has ended.