Patrick Sharp's Injury: What It Means to the Blackhawk Offense

John GalloContributor IIOctober 9, 2010

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 7: Kyle Cumiskey #10 of the Colorado Avalanche tries to chase down Patrick Sharp #10 of the Chicago Blackhawks during both team's season openers at the Pepsi Center on October 7, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)
Marc Piscotty/Getty Images

Brandon Pirri has been called up to replace Patrick Sharp for tonight's home opener against the Detroit Red Wings.  This sharp turn of events could be very bad for the Blackhawks as they try to gain the season's first win.  They are going to need all the help they can get against the Red Wings, who looked very strong in last night's win.

Sharp had a strong game last night (1G,1A).  He spent a majority of the night playing with Pisani and Kane, and the line moved the puck with high intensity and speed.  He also brings a very strong presence to the ice and locker room—he accounts for a lot of intangibles for the team.  He is one of the strongest all-around players in the league.

Pirri had a good preseason and earned himself a 3-year contract this past offseason.  He will be a good backup for Sharp in the short-term.  But that's what he is: a backup.  Hopefully Sharp will not be gone for long, as the Hawks are going to need his skills and leadership presence, especially this year with the number of new players on the team.

In terms of tonight's game, this will really lower the talent in the Hawks' second line and will make the matchups much easier for coach Babcock and the Wings.

Predictions:  Expect Q to make some line changes, to move some of the talent around to make the lines work, and for a more defensive game from Chicago.