Just like that, the Hawks’ prospects for success on their nine-game road trip that begins Tuesday night against the Canucks in Vancouver became a whole lot more optimistic. The forwards participated in full drills with teammates during Monday night’s practice at Rogers Arena and Toews said afterward he would play against the Canucks. As far as Sharp, the veteran said he would determine if he’d return against Vancouver following Tuesday’s morning skate.
“I’m excited to be back,” said Toews, who first injured his left wrist after taking a slash from the Panthers’ Erik Gudbranson on Jan. 20. “I took the time I think I needed this past week. I’m excited to play hockey again.”
Toews tried to play through the injury but left during the second period of the Hawks’ game against the Predators the next night and missed the Jan. 24 rematch.
“At that point I didn’t think it was beneficial for me or the team to go back and try to do anything,” Toews said. “It was just going to get worse at that point. The important hitting is I feel like I can come back and I feel like I can get back to playing the way I was before and contribute and help the team.”
Sharp suffered his left wrist injury against the Red Wings on Jan. 8 after being slashed by Detroit’s Jiri Hudler while Sharp was scoring his 20th goal of the season. He was placed on the injured list the following day and has missed eight consecutive games.
“I want to get back as fast as I can, whether that’s (Tuesday), the next game the third game, who knows?” Sharp said. “I felt pretty good in practice.
“I was trying to shoot it high (against the Wings) and I got whacked and the puck went right along the ice,” Sharp said of the injury. “I was trying to figure why it did and I got back to the bench and when I calmed down after cheering it started to hurt a little bit so I realized something was wrong. There’s some stiffness and minor pain doing some things. It’s just a matter of getting strength and accuracy back and I’ll be able to do my thing out there.”
The return of the high-scoring forwards will give a boost to the Hawks, who enter their longest trip of the season on a two-game losing skid. Toews is second on the team in scoring with 27 goals and 23 assists while Sharp is fourth with 20 goals and 20 assists.
“(When) you get these guys coming into our lineup you get leadership, quality ice time, key faceoffs with Jonathan and special teams will be enhanced as well,” coach Joel Quenneville said. All the things you’re looking for they provide (and) we welcome them back.”One-timer: Corey Crawford will start in goal for the Hawks against the Canucks.