Blackhawks

Blackhawks

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.