Marcus Krugers play has earned him more time on the power play and more minutes overall. Now its earning him a shot at second-line center.
Kruger was skating between Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa on Thursday, and hell be there on Friday night when the Blackhawks host the New York Islanders. For Kruger, its another opportunity in a young season thats been full of them.
Im just going to try and play my game, he said. I know the guys (Im with) are good with the puck but I still need to hold onto it and make plays myself as well.
Kruger said hes gained confidence in his game; his coaches have gained confidence in Kruger.
What got our attention was his patience and play recognition on the offensive side. Playing with top guys, lets see if more of that can come out, coach Joel Quenneville said. Marcus gives us an option based on his performance.
Kruger has adapted quickly since his arrival here last spring, from different linemates to more playing time to special-teams responsibilities. Hes gotten help from all of his teammates, especially his fellow Swedes Niklas Hjalmarsson and Viktor Stalberg.
It helped him a little bit, having other Swedish guys he could talk to if there was something he didnt get, Stalberg said. Hes definitely coming into his own. Hes a lot more confident now than I think he was coming into the season. You cant teach hockey sense and skill he has.
Yes, folks, theres more line tinkering afoot. Krugers moving to second-line center is worth a shot. Its more responsibility on both sides of the puck, but Kruger has done well in other tests this season. The Blackhawks are happy with him.
If it doesnt work, they move Kruger somewhere else and probably put Patrick Kane back at center for a bit. There are options to be had, and Quenneville is going to look into all of them to get the offense going again.
Well see how (Kruger) plays with the top guys. Thats more of an experiment that way as well, Quenneville said. But knowing you always have Kaner to the middle in your back pocket is a nice option to have.