Sep 132011

Patrick Sharp underwent emergency appendectomy surgery on Monday evening.

“Patrick Sharp underwent an emergent surgical appendectomy this evening after experiencing some abnormal abdominal discomfort,” Blackhawks head physician Dr. Michael Terry said in a team statement released Monday night.  “The surgery was successful and I anticipate a full recovery in approximately three to four weeks.”

Based on prior instances across sports, a more likely timetable for an athlete of Sharp’s stature is 2-3 weeks.  Four weeks would push Sharp’s return beyond the Blackhawks opening weekend match ups with the Stars as four weeks from the time of surgery is October 10.

Sharp will be fine.  This development does open the door for increased reps and exhibition game action for the likes of Viktor Stalberg, Rostislav Olesz, Ben Smith, Marcus Kruger, Brandon Segal, Brett McLean and others.

However, with two of the most important Hawks now potentially missing most, if not all, of the preseason, concern is growing.  If Patrick Kane, and now Sharp, enter the season at less than 100 percent in the strength, conditioning and sharpness departments that could adversely affect the way the Blackhawks start the season in the win/loss columns.

If Sharp’s return is delayed until the last days of training camp or later, Joel Quenneville will either be forced or tempted to fill his second-line center position with Kruger, or perhaps Dave Bolland, and begin the season with Sharp on left wing.  That’s all well and good, but the current roster has an overflow of wingers and not much ready-made depth down the middle.  As it is, the fourth line is set to be centered by Marcus Kruger (who is poor in the faceoff circle), Ben Smith or Jamal Mayers (the worst-case scenario).

–If you haven’t listened yet, we recorded our latest podcast Monday afternoon.  Mike Peck, the voice of the Rockford IceHogs, joined us again to preview the season ahead for the ‘Hogs.

–Another Hawk returning from injury, Bryan Bickell says he’s 100 percent and ready for training camp.  Bickell was suffered two lacerated tendons in his right arm in Game 2 of the Canucks’ series, causing him to miss Game 3 and 7 (at which point Bickell was shut down for the season). Bickell told the Tribune’s Chris Kuc he’s in good shape and ready to compete for a job again.  “Going into last year I had to make this team, and I think coming into this year I have to do the exact same thing,” Bickell told the Tribune.

–Blackhawks prospects wrap their tournament in Oshawa today with an afternoon meeting with talent from the Pittsburgh Penguin organization.  Brad Vandenberk will again be there and have a full report up on our site later tonight.  Saturday’s 4-2 loss vs Toronto  –  Sunday’s 6-5 loss to Ottawa.

Eddie Olczyk says players today have more support than those of his era did. [Tribune].  “I think that we have to make sure that players understand there are people there for them,” Olczyk told the Tribune’s Fred Mitchell.  “There are programs for them. Whatever they are feeling, whether it is substance abuse or depression, there are a lot more olive branches out for these players. And it’s OK to ask for help. It’s OK to look for guidance.”

The NHL has a drug testing policy.  If a player is struggling with substance abuse and himself has to reach out because the league is not aware, the current system is failing players, their families, the league and its fans.

Dustin Byfuglien is expected to face charges for his August 31st suspected DWI boating arrest in Minnesota.  Byfuglien was operating his boat when stopped at a police check point.  When asked to submit to a breathalyzer, Byfuglien refused and then arrested under probable cause.  If convicted, Byfuglien could have trouble obtaining a working visa in Canada, which has strict border policies preventing convicted felons from entering the country.

–Update on Colin Fraser’s recovery from ankle surgery that resulted in the Kings (his new team) and Oilers bickering over Fraser’s medicals after the June trade.  Fraser was once pegged for a November return but is apparently ahead of schedule and could even be cleared to skate this week.

Excerpt from Helene Elliott’s report in the LA Times:

“It was very frustrating. Not frustrating that whatever is going on between the two teams, that’s between them. The frustrating part is the injury,” Fraser said. “I broke it in March and here I am getting surgery at the end of July.

“Whoever’s right and whoever’s wrong, it doesn’t matter. I just wish I could have gotten it done a heck of a lot earlier so I wouldn’t be in this position of ‘Are you or are you not going to be ready for camp?’ I could put it behind me and just be ready….

“Now, coming down to the wire, it’s going to be tight. That’s the way it goes. That’s the way it went for me.”

[Photos] Justin Bieber decked out in trendy Blackhawks swag. [Daily Mail]

[Video] The Hockey News Puck Panel – Chicago Blackhawks 2011-12 Preview

You can’t put a band aid on a concussion.

–Blackhawks’ birthdays today…

Defenseman Igor Kravchuk turns 45 today…. Reto Von Arx is 35….

Former Blackhawk captain and pro scout Martin Lapointe turned 38 on Monday.

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