Both Patrick Sharp and Sheldon Brookbank will take the ice tonight for the Chicago Blackhawks as they play their third game of the NHL season, this time against the physical St. Louis Blues, in St. Louis. Both Sharp and Brookbank, though, will be on the ice for very different reasons.
Sharp may have not traveled with the team due to the birth of his daughter which will happen any day now. Sharp is committed to playing tonight and has an interesting stat line on days surrounding child birth.
When his daughter Madelyn was born in 2011, Sharp tallied two game-winning goals, one the day before, and one the day after. Sharp has stated he will miss games if he has to, and it seems timing will be key in deciding exactly how many games the team will be without one of its offensive leaders.
In his absence (Chicago plays six games in eleven nights), expect Ben Smith to be promoted to the second line while Jimmy Hayes remains on the third. Against a St. Louis team which coach Ken Hitchcock has stated will attempt to be physical against stars such as Patrick Kane, Hayes will return to the third line while Smith will be a healthy scratch once again.
Making his regular season debut will be Brookbank, who once again looks to be splitting time with Michal Roszival and now Michael Kostka. Brookbank is likely to see less action, but with the team going into a stretch of games and Brookbank being more physical than Kostka, the decision was an easy one. After tallying only one point last season, Brookbank will be looking to cement his role and earn a more consistent roster spot.
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