Havlat's season might be over

Published: 2/29/2008 12:06 AM

DALLAS -- Whether he's out a week, two weeks or the rest of the season, chalk it up as yet another lost season for injury-prone Blackhawks forward Martin Havlat.

Havlat injured his left shoulder again on his first shift of the second period in Wednesday's home victory over Phoenix and underwent an MRI on Thursday afternoon. The results won't be announced until today.

Hopes aren't high, though, considering it's the same shoulder Havlat hurt in an opening-night scrum in Minnesota, causing him to miss the next 22 games, and also the same one he had surgery on in Ottawa.

"I don't think he'll be back in the next week or two weeks," Hawks coach Denis Savard said. "It's pretty much the same type of injury he got in Minnesota."

If Havlat is indeed done for the season, his final numbers will be 27 points in 35 games. Last year he played in just 56 games, and the previous season -- with Ottawa -- he appeared in only 18 regular-season games before lighting it up in the playoffs (7 goals in 10 games).

With Havlat on the shelf, the Hawks recalled forward Kris Vertsteeg from Rockford for his third go-round with the team this season.

"I liked the way he played when we were in Phoenix (in January). Hopefully he brings the same energy he did then," said Savard, who put Versteeg on a line with Petri Kontiola and Dustin Byfuglien.

In addition to Versteeg, the Hawks also recalled defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to replace Andrei Zyuzin (groin).

"I think you're going to see a lot of good things out of him," Savard said. "I liked him in prospect camp. He reminds me a bit of how (Jonathan) Toews is, in regards to work ethic. He wants to be great."

Ladd to be here: Though his head still is spinning a bit since his arrival Wednesday, former Carolina forward Andrew Ladd is glad he got that first game as a Hawk under his belt.

Ladd, who came to the Hawks in exchange for Tuomo Ruutu, saw 15 minutes of ice time Wednesday, which is about five more than he was getting with the 'Canes.

"It was a nice start," Ladd said. "I played a lot and started to get used to the guys. It's still going to take some time to get used to the system and things like that. I thought for the most part it went pretty well."

Young and the stressless: You'd think being in the thick of a playoff chase and then suffering a spate of injuries to some key veterans would add some gray to Denis Savard's hair.

You'd be wrong.

"I love it," Savard said of going into the stretch run with a bunch of young guns. "It's so healthy for our kids and it's so important for our organization -- whether we make it or not -- that we take this right to the end."