Richards returns, Sharp demoted as Blackhawks hosts Predators

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With Brad Richards set to return after missing three games due to an upper body injury, Patrick Sharp is expected to be moved out of the Blackhawks’ top six forward group.

Richards skated on a line with Kris Versteeg and Patrick Kane Sunday while Sharp was on the left side with Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith.

“(Richards) coming back, that line was very effective for a stretch when we were winning games [on the circus trip],” Joel Quenneville told the Chicago Sun-Times. “(Jonathan Toews’) line is going fine. I think that line, they get quality ice time and get some big assignments as well.”

Richards has six goals and 18 points in 33 games this season.

“Luxury of the depth this organization has and helps a lot for this time of year,” said Richards. “Being healthy too you know you can get your extra day or two to make sure things are fine tuned.”

Richards has not played since the Blackhawks’ 3-2 overtime loss in Columbus on Dec. 20.