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At the Rink blog

Kruger back on the ice for Chicago

Friday, 01.06.2012 / 12:14 PM

By Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

CHICAGO -- Rookie center Marcus Kruger appears to be making progress recovering from an upper-body injury that has kept him out of four straight games.

Kruger hasn't played since Dec. 26 against the Columbus Blue Jackets, a game in which he was hit hard into the boards six days after returning from a potential head injury that happened on an illegal charge Dec. 20 by Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland.

Since that Columbus game, Kruger has struggled to get back on the ice and earlier this week Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Kruger had a "bad day" after he'd shown improvements. The next day Quenneville said Kruger was better and the Hawks then left for Philadelphia and a game Thursday night that they lost 5-4 on a late goal in the third.

The Hawks opted not to hold a morning skate Friday at United Center, prior to playing the Colorado Avalanche, but Kruger was on the ice in the morning with a skating coach going through individual work.

Kruger, who'd been centering the second line between Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa, has three goals and seven assists in 34 games with the Hawks.

It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery