The newest face to be stuck in the press box is a familiar one as the Blackhawks will healthy scratch veteran winger Patrick Sharp against the Stars on Thursday night. Richard Panik will draw back into the lineup after 10 days off to try to bring some energy to the bottom six.
“Certain guys, when it’s the first time for that, it’s never easy,” Joel Quenneville said of the decision to scratch Sharp, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus.
Sharp has struggled since signing a one-year, $1 million deal with the Hawks during the offseason. He’s played just 13:40 per game — his lowest average since 2003-04 with the Flyers — and given the coaching staff little reason to play him more with just nine points in 33 games.
Finishing ability has become a prime source of frustration. The winger, who has eight 20-goal seasons on his resume, has shot just 4.2 percent this season. You’d typically point at that number and expect significant regression to a higher figure, but this is part of a wider trend. Over the past four seasons, he’s shot just seven percent.
So now the Hawks will give him a rest against his former team, and we’ll see what happens from here. At this point, assuming the team is content with its fourth line, there’s always going to be an odd man out of the lineup between Panik, Sharp, and Ryan Hartman.