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.