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Patrick Sharp hits the ice for first time since appendectomy, won’t start at center

Sep 26, 2011, 5:19 PM EDT

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Patrick Sharp AP

While the Blackhawks are busy tinkering around with Patrick Kane and seeing if they will get him to play at center this year, they’ve got another bit of good news to get excited about.

Ailing winger/part-time center Patrick Sharp, who has missed all of training camp so far recovering from an emergency appendectomy, got back on the ice, skating on his own. When Sharp went in for his operation back on September 12, they had him penned in for a 3-to-4 week recovery period. Seeing him back on the ice just two weeks after surgery has everyone in Chicago feeling hopeful he can be ready to go for the Blackhawks’ regular season opener on October 7.

Tracey Myers of CSNChicago.com gets the thoughts of Hawks coach Joel Quenneville about his star player’s recovery and what position he might end up playing once the games begin.

And while Sharp is another guy who can and has played center, Quenneville said he probably won’t start the season there.

“Right now we’ll likely start him on the wing,” he said. “I think whether he’s at center or wing he’s useful in a lot of ways. Having the flexibility of having several guys who can jump in the middle is an asset of our team.”

The Hawks already have Jonathan Toews as their top center, but finding a guy capable of carrying the second line’s offense has proven difficult. Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik have seen time there in the past as has Sharp. With Patrick Kane giving it a go, there’s options to be had for Chicago as to who gets to lead the second wave of attack. Bolland is seen to be their best fit on the third line while Frolik’s offense needs to show consistency to earn the chance to get the job.

Putting Sharp on the wing from the get-go gives them a guy who’s capable of scoring 30+ goals a year and dishing out just as many, if not more, assists to lead the offense. With Toews, Kane, Frolik, Marian Hossa, and Andrew Brunette figuring to be involved on the top two lines in some form, slotting Sharp in anywhere there makes for a great spot for him regardless of where he’s placed.

There’s a reason why Chicago is earning praise for being a Stanley Cup contender in the preseason and with Sharp and Kane ready to go, Chicago’s eagerness for the season to start is palpable.

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