Daily Herald
Havlat out at least a month, and that's best-case scenario
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 10/9/2007 12:13 AM

If the Blackhawks are fortunate enough to catch a break -- and it's still a huge "if" -- they will be without top scorer Martin Havlat for the next 4-6 weeks.

But if the news is bad later this week after Havlat has several more doctors examine his injured right shoulder, he could be lost to the Hawks for the rest of the season.

It wasn't exactly a positive thing when Havlat said Monday his shoulder feels much like it did last March when he hurt it and needed surgery for the second time in three years. The rehab from that type of shoulder surgery generally is 4-6 months.

"It's pretty similar to last year and we have to find out what the problem is," Havlat said. "It feels the same way.

"We're going to talk to two or three different doctors, see what they have to say, and go from there. We'll probably know a little more on Wednesday or Thursday."

What the Hawks hope to hear is that Havlat can play again in November or December following shoulder rehab.

"We think there's a good chance he can rehab this thing and be back in 4-6 weeks," general manager Dale Tallon said. "That's what we're hoping."

Havlat already has been examined by Hawks team physician Dr. Michael Terry and undergone an MRI and CT scan. Havlat wouldn't say what Terry thought of the injury.

"There's still swelling in there, so (the first exam) wasn't enough to say that there's something in there," Hawks coach Denis Savard said. "Last year it was definite (that Havlat needed surgery). This year we're still debating what's there and if there is something that needs to be done."

Havlat was hurt in Thursday's season opener at Minnesota during a scrum late in the Hawks' 1-0 loss.

"I knew exactly that it was out right away," Havlat said. "It shouldn't happen that way because there wasn't that much force on that arm.

"It wasn't the start that I wanted on the first night. I was hoping this season would be a great season to play as many games as I could, but that's the way it is and hopefully it's not going to be that bad."

Patrick Sharp has taken Havlat's spot on the first line with Robert Lang and Sergei Samsonov.

With Havlat gone for a minimum of the next month, wingers such as Samsonov, Sharp, Tuomo Ruutu, Rene Bourque, Jason Williams and rookie Patrick Kane will be needed to pick up the scoring slack.

"We need him and hopefully he's back in a couple weeks and we get him back for the rest of the year," Savard said. "As I said to the guys, we're going to miss Havlat, there's no question about that. But the depth that we have, I think we're really not going to miss a beat.

"We'd like to have him because it's an extra weapon, but I like our team and I like the way we're playing."