CHICAGO – Marcus Kruger is doing OK after the hit he took on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, but Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said the Swedish rookie center will sit out Wednesday's game at the United Center against the Montreal Canadiens.
To replace him in the lineup, the Hawks put forward Daniel Carcillo on injured reserve to clear a spot for center prospect Brandon Pirri, whom they called up from the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League on Wednesday afternoon.
"Krugs is doing alright today, but he's not playing,” Quenneville said late Wednesday afternoon. "He had a couple shifts there late in the first and then he came out for the second and a couple times I had to call for him to go and he just wasn't ready to play. That's kind of where we're at."
Pirri will likely go straight into the active lineup for Kruger, who was centering the second line between star forwards Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa. The 20-year old Pirri has played one game this season with the Hawks and finished with an assist in 15:43 of ice time in the season-opener Oct. 7 in Dallas.
Pirri, Chicago's second-round pick in the 2009 NHL Draft (No.59), is also the AHL's seventh-leading scorer with 13 goals and 31 points in 28 games. It's his play at the other end of the rink that he's been trying to work on in Rockford.
"(Ted Dent), our coach down there, stresses that good defense leads to offensive chances and by me shoring up my game (on defense) good things would happen in the offensive zone," Pirri said. "I see myself as a leader (in Rockford), so I'm working on my consistency and I think it's been going well this year."
It also happens to be a special game for Pirri to play in Chicago, coming against the team he grew up disliking as a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
"It's a big game and I'd be lying to you if I said it I wasn't real excited to be here," Pirri said. "Being from Toronto, you always have that in you to beat the Habs and it's real cool being able to play them."
Carcillo, meanwhile, has been out with an undisclosed upper-body injury believed to be a concussion since getting injured on Dec. 14 in Minnesota. Quenneville said he's progressing well and could be ready to return to action after the NHL's Christmas break period.
Placing Carcillo on IR was merely a procedural thing to make room for Pirri, according to Quenneville.
"He's doing good," Quenneville said. "He's much better. These four days here, he should be back. We're hoping he can come out and be ready to go."