Marcus Kruger wanted to stay with the Blackhawks. He didn’t get the long-term deal he was originally looking for but he did get a deal done before training camp’s start.
TSN's Bob McKenzie reported that Kruger's deal is worth $1.5 million for one year.
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General manager Stan Bowman said several times that the team was intent on re-signing Kruger. Salary-cap issues, however, were going to be an issue. Kruger’s agent JP Barry, via email earlier this summer, said that his client would be patient as the Blackhawks worked through their cap crunch. Some of that was resolved on Friday afternoon, when the Blackhawks traded Kris Versteeg and Joakim Nordstrom to the Carolina Hurricanes.
About an hour after that trade was complete, Kruger’s signing was announced.
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The 25-year-old Kruger won his second Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks this past season. He was once again a dependable penalty killer and fourth-line center, developing postseason chemistry with Andrew Shaw and Andrew Desjardins. Kruger had 17 points during the regular season; he had four points, including the game-winning goal in the Blackhawks’ triple-overtime Game 3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference final.
After being on the receiving end of some racist taunts while he was in the penalty box during Saturday's game against the Blackhawks, Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly spoke publicly about the incident.
Smith-Pelly, a 25-year-old Canadian, reacted to the fans while he was in the box, going up to them from the other side of the glass. He addressed questions from the media about the incident on Sunday.
"I just heard some chanting, some, I guess, racially charged chanting," Smith-Pelly said. "You can tell by my reaction that I got pretty upset.
"What was said this time around crossed the line."
The Capitals released a statement about the incident:
"The Washington Capitals are extremely disappointed by the intolerant behavior extended toward Devante Smith-Pelly by a select group of fans during Saturday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. The Capitals organization strives to be inclusive and has zero tolerance concerning any form of racism. Such behavior is unacceptable and has no place in hockey or society. As such, it is crucial to confront such appalling conduct, and the Capitals extend their appreciation to the Blackhawks organization and United Center security for swiftly removing the fans from the game."
The Blackhawks released a statement after the game with a similar tone.
Smith-Pelly said this has happened previously in his career.
"It's sad that in 2018 we're still talking about the same thing over and over," Smith-Pelly said. "It's sad that athletes like myself 30, 40 years ago were standing in the same spot saying the same thing. You'd think there'd be some sort of change or progression, but we're still working towards it I guess and we're going to keep working towards it."
The Capitals released the full interview.
Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.
Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.
Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:
After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:
Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident: