The chick in the front row does her best Gene Simmons impression, while the guy on the right looks on skeptically. ( Nuccio DiNuzzo-Chicago Tribune)

If you’re a glass half empty person, you think the loss of Patrick Sharp comes at the worst possible time for the Blackhawks. With the PP going down the crapper (again) and the schedule getting a lot tougher, the Hawks can ill-afford to be without a key cog in their top-6 for the next 3 to 4 weeks.If you’re the glass half full sort, you say to yourself that this injury could have been much worse and the kids they have called up from Rockford have been impressive.

I’m a lot closer to the glass half empty position here. The loss of Sharp not only puts a giant hole in the Top-6, but it further depletes our already questionable offensive depth, as Q is going to have to move somebody from the bottom-6 up into his spot.  With the Hawks deciding to recall Ben Smith instead of Brandon Pirri, it seems likely that Michael Frolik will get a chance to center the 2nd line – at least until Marcus Kruger returns (more on him later).  But who really knows when it comes to Q? One thing appears certain though – Jimmy Hayes is going to get a crack skating with the big boys. While I have questions about his defensive acumen, he has been a very pleasant surprise in the offensive zone and has earned this opportunity. But just so we’re clear here – nobody is going to replace what Patrick Sharp was brining to the Blackhawks lineup – consistent offense.

While the news on Sharp was certainly a kick in the nuts, it wasn’t all doom and gloom today. Marcus Kruger skated for the second straight day and apparently had a tough practice this morning.  He hopes to be cleared to play soon, which would be a major shot in the arm for the suddenly thin Blackhawks offense. One has to believe that if Kruger wasn’t close, the Hawks would have recalled Pirri instead.

I may be in the minority, but I thought Corey Crawford was pretty damn good last night (can someone explain what the hell Steve Montador was doing on top of him in on the Datsyuk goal?) and he will again get the start in goal tomorrow night against the Blue Jackets.

Speaking of the Blue Jackets, they fired their coach Scott Arniel today – finally. As everyone knows, the Blue Jackets are a horrible hockey team and this was a move that probably should have happened around Thanksgiving. The Blue Jackets named Todd Richards their interim head coach. He will make his debut tomorrow night against the Blackhawks.

Finally, you absolutely must read this story on the injury Dustin Penner got while eating pancakes his wife made him. Yes, you read that right – Dustin Penner was injured while eating pancakes. This ranks up there with Sammy Sosa injuring his back while sneezing.