BUFFALO, N.Y. – When coach Joel Quenneville said he wasn’t sure how serious Marcus Kruger’s injury was on Thursday night, it didn’t sound good.
On Friday, the Blackhawks found out they’ll be without their reliable center for several months.
Kruger had successful surgery on his dislocated left wrist on Friday morning. Team physician Dr. Michael Terry said the Blackhawks anticipate Kruger “will return to hockey activities in approximately four months.”
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Kruger went hard into the boards in the second period of the Blackhawks’ 4-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night. He sat on the bench for a few minutes favoring his left wrist before heading to the locker room.
The Blackhawks recalled Phillip Danault, whose game has been compared to Kruger’s.
Kruger has been a steady fourth-line center for the Blackhawks for the past several seasons. He also became a big part of the team’s penalty kill, starting with the lockout-shortened 2013 season. He had also been strong health-wise; in his four previous full seasons with the Blackhawks, beginning with the 2011-12 season, Kruger has missed a total of 14 games.
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Duncan Keith didn’t know how serious Kruger’s injury was following Thursday night’s game but he knew the Blackhawks would lose a lot without him in the lineup.
“He’s a big part of our team, whether it’s penalty killing, defensive zone face-offs, blocking shots, all those little intangible things he brings to the team,” Keith said. “It would be a tough loss.”