Kruger making his mark on Blackhawks' fourth line

Kruger making his mark on Blackhawks' fourth line
February 18, 2013, 5:30 pm
Share This Post

Marcus Kruger was ready to give everyone on the Blackhawks credit for their early success. Everyone, apparently, but himself.

“As a team we feel pretty good,” he said following the Blackhawks’ 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday. “As for me, our line’s been doing a great job here lately.”

The soft-spoken Kruger isn’t one to pull the spotlight toward him, or bask in it if it’s already there. But as quiet as Kruger is, his game is becoming talk worthy.

Kruger has been doing a little bit of everything lately, from anchoring a fourth line that has contributed its share, to adding points here and there to being a part of a Blackhawks penalty kill that’s been stellar. And he’s been doing it well. Kruger just focuses on his game and won’t be one to talk much about it.

But others will.

“He’s fearless,” captain Jonathan Toews said. “He’s protecting the puck, he’s playing against their top lines, he’s killing penalties. He’s doing everything right. He’s focusing on all the little details. When you do that, you get breaks and things go in your favor.”

Kruger’s play has been much like the entire Blackhawks this season: workmanlike and efficient. He’s been a big part of the team’s penalty kill, which surrendered two goals to L.A. on Sunday but has otherwise been tough to crack. He has six points (three goals, three assists) and is a plus-2 this season and is part of a fourth line that was once again noticeable on Sunday.

“With Krugs, he’s very consistent in his game. He’s not flashy,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “He’s dependable, reliable and predictable. You appreciate his work ethic, his anticipation and reads. He’s getting smarter and stronger. It’s been a nice growth chart for him.”

One has to wonder how long Kruger will be on that fourth line. Yes, the Blackhawks are winning and Quenneville won’t be making big changes as long as they are. There’s no need to. Still, the time’s going to come when Kruger earns his way up the lineup. Until then, he’ll quietly continue to make noise, wherever he’s playing.

“I think he’s just proving that there’s not much he can’t do. He can do it all,” Toews said. “I’m happy to see him do well. He’s one of those guys who doesn’t get all the credit in the world, but definitely deserves it.”