Hjalmarsson, Montador sidelined for Blackhawks

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- It doesn't get any easier for the struggling

Chicago Blackhawks

as they will face the

San Jose Sharks

on Friday night without two of their top defensemen.


Steve Montador

was placed on injured reserve Friday with an upper-body injury suffered during Tuesday night's 5-2 loss to the

Colorado Avalanche

and fellow blueliner

Niklas Hjalmarsson

is also sidelined with an upper-body injury that will keep him out at least through the weekend.

Hjalmarsson missed the last two days of practice with what was first described as the


, but coach

Joel Quenneville

said following Friday's morning skate at HP Pavilion that "things changed." Hjalmarsson flew back to Chicago with Montador and both will miss the game against the Sharks and also Saturday night's contest vs. the

Phoenix Coyotes

in Glendale, Ariz.

Replacing Montador and Hjalmarsson will be rookie

Dylan Olsen

, who was recalled from Rockford of the

American Hockey League

early Friday, and veteran Sami Lepisto.

Lepisto has been a healthy scratch the last 15 games and hasn't played since Jan. 2 against the

Edmonton Oilers


"You start to think a little bit like, 'what's going on?,' " Lepisto said about sitting so long. "You're still not in and the team is not doing very well. That's Coach's choice. I'm excited about (playing Friday). Hopefully, I can help the team."

Lepisto and Olsen will be thrown right into the fire for a team that has lost six consecutive games overall and its last eight on the road. Lepisto has appeared in 11 of the Hawks' 55 games this season and plans to keep things simple in his return.

"It's been a while--I don't even know how long," Lepisto said. "I'll just try to do my job and not too much and just go easy. It's been a rough patch. We want to play simple and play it period by period and go from there."


Corey Crawford

will start in goal for the Hawks and will be opposed by former teammate

Antti Niemi

for the Sharks. ... Veteran Sharks defenseman

Dan Boyle

will play after missing San Jose's last game with the flu.

Twitter @ChrisKuc