Obscured a bit by incessant chirping about chirping Thursday: It's continuing to look as if the Chicago Blackhawks will get one of their best players back next week, as they hoped.
Patrick Sharp, out since March 20 with an apparent leg injury, didn't practice again Thursday. But Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said the team's leading goal-scorer is "progressing well" and remains on track to return before the regular season ends.
"We'll get a reassessment on Sunday and we could see him on the ice next week," Quenneville said.
In the meantime, the Hawks continue to toggle wingers on the top line in Sharp's absence, with Bryan Bickell the latest to skate alongside Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews during Thursday's workout.
"It's good, they're unbelievable to play with, they're elite guys in the league," Bickell said. "To play with those guys, it's fun. Makes it a lot easier on your job, for sure. I need to keep it simple and see how it goes from there.
"Missing Sharp is a big piece of the puzzle right now, but going through these next couple games, we end to get these wins and find a way. Hopefully when we get him back it's for the playoffs and the playoffs is a different game."
One-timers: Quenneville said center Dave Bolland (concussion) is making "slow progress."... Defenseman Chris Campoli missed Thursday's practice for a "maintenance day," per Quenneville, but will travel and play Friday against the Blue Jackets. ... Corey Crawford gets the start in goal in Columbus.