Blackhawks' Kruger takes center stage

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Blackhawks' Kruger takes center stage

Marcus Kruger has made a quick ascension through the Blackhawks ranks and will play second-line center tonight. And Patrick Kane, whose place hell be taking, said Kruger will do just fine there.

Kane, whos back at right wing on the top line tonight, played with Kruger a few games last season and liked what how the young Swede played.

Hes an easy forward to play with, Kane said. He kind of lets the other guys handle the puck and tries to do all the work for them. At the same time hes skilled enough where he can make plays, make saucer passes and little passes around defensemen that can get you in good position. I played with him a couple games and I like him a lot. Hell be good for those two guys (Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa).

Kane said he hasnt talked to Kruger specifically about taking over at No. 2 center but they have chatted about Krugers quick rise through the ranks.

Hes pretty happy to be up here, Kane said. Its good to see a player that young and that motivated to keep doing well and keep getting better. Hes been good on the power play, makes good plays and puts his linemates in good position to score goals. So Im happy for him.

Jamal Mayers, who played with Kruger earlier this season, also thinks hell be fine.

Hes a very smart player, Mayers said. At the beginning of the year, playing with him you felt he was just scratching the surface and his game would come. Hes getting rewarded for that. I think hell do great.

Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook out vs. Rangers

Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook out vs. Rangers

Brent Seabrook is out and Jonathan Toews will miss his eighth consecutive game when the Blackhawks host the New York Rangers on Friday night.

Seabrook suffered an upper-body injury in the second period of the Blackhawks’ 4-0 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night. The defenseman fell awkwardly along the boards and was down for a few moments. Coach Joel Quenneville said Seabrook is day-to-day. Quenneville added he’ll decide tomorrow who takes Seabrook’s place in the lineup.

“Seabs has played really well for us on the back end this year and we’ll definitely miss his contributions,” Quenneville said. “We’re looking for someone to step in.”

Toews is feeling better and could skate on Friday. Quenneville would not rule out the possibility of Toews returning Sunday against the Dallas Stars.

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Duncan Keith did not practice on Thursday but he’s expected to play vs. the Rangers. Scott Darling will start.

Quenneville said Corey Crawford, who had an appendectomy on Saturday, is “status quo.”

Meanwhile, Nick Schmaltz, who was assigned to Rockford over the weekend, scored two goals in the IceHogs’ 3-2 loss to the San Antonio Rampage.

“I talked to Norm (Maciver, Blackhawks assistant general manager) about his game, they were extremely happy with how he played,” Quenneville said of Schmaltz. “He scored twice and there could’ve been more.”

Eric Semborski gets his own hockey card as Blackhawks' emergency goalie

Eric Semborski gets his own hockey card as Blackhawks' emergency goalie

Eric Semborski lived out his childhood dream by calling himself a National Hockey League goaltender for one day, and he will never forget it.

Now there's proof nobody will.

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Topps revealed Wednesday that it has produced a trading card for the 23-year-old after he signed a one-day contract on an amateur tryout basis to serve as the emergency backup goaltender for the Blackhawks in Saturday's contest against the Philadelphia Flyers.

While he didn't see any action, Semborski said after the game that absorbing shots during warmups from some of the best players in the league was “the best 20 minutes of my life.”

Add this to the memory bank of a story that keeps getting better.