Breaking News Bar
updated: 9/24/2011 12:19 AM

Rookie Saad scoring big points among Blackhawks brass

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) saves a shot by Washington's Brooks Laich as Duncan Keith (2) looks on during the third period of the Hawks' 3-2 preseason victory Friday night at the United Center.

      Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) saves a shot by Washington's Brooks Laich as Duncan Keith (2) looks on during the third period of the Hawks' 3-2 preseason victory Friday night at the United Center.
    Associated Press

  • Chicago Blackhawks' Brandon Saad (43) celebrates with Jonathan Toews (19) and Viktor Stalberg (25) after Saad scoring the game winning goal during the third period of an NHL preseason hockey game against the Washington Capitals in Chicago, Friday, Sept. 23, 2011. The Blackhawks won 3-2. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

      Chicago Blackhawks' Brandon Saad (43) celebrates with Jonathan Toews (19) and Viktor Stalberg (25) after Saad scoring the game winning goal during the third period of an NHL preseason hockey game against the Washington Capitals in Chicago, Friday, Sept. 23, 2011. The Blackhawks won 3-2. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Chicago Blackhawks' Viktor Stalberg (25) celebrates with Brandon Saad (43) after scoring a goal during the third period of an NHL preseason hockey game against the Washington Capitals in Chicago, Friday, Sept. 23, 2011. The Blackhawks won 3-2. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

      Chicago Blackhawks' Viktor Stalberg (25) celebrates with Brandon Saad (43) after scoring a goal during the third period of an NHL preseason hockey game against the Washington Capitals in Chicago, Friday, Sept. 23, 2011. The Blackhawks won 3-2. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

 

Marcus Kruger admits there's not a lot of flash and dash to his game.

But that won't be how the rookie center earns a spot on the Blackhawks' roster.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

It's Kruger's smarts on the ice, his dependability defensively and his ability to win faceoffs and kill penalties that will make the difference between playing in Chicago and playing in Rockford.

"I just need to play my game," Kruger said. "My game is not like the flashiest guy out there, but I have to do all the right stuff and play smart."

Kruger has yet to make a huge impression so far in the preseason, at least not in the way Viktor Stalberg and rookie Brandon Saad have done.

Stalberg scored 2 goals and Saad got the game winner with 3:21 to play Friday night as the Hawks beat the Washington Capitals 3-2 at the United Center for their first win of the preseason.

Stalberg scored twice early in the third period to wipe out a 1-0 deficit. His first goal was set up by Saad on a 2-on-1.

Saad also led a 2-on-1 on his game winner with Jonathan Toews, keeping the puck this time for a snap shot past goalie Tomas Vokoun.

Saad played on a line with Toews and Stalberg for most of the third period.

So can the 18-year-old Saad, a second-round draft pick last June, actually make the team with so much competition at forward?

"I don't know, if he keeps doing that every day I think we're probably talking about it the next day," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We'll see. It's not something we envisioned, but ever year and every training camp there's always somebody who will get your attention and you have to look at the case a little differently. He's doing that.

"I thought he had a special game again."

Quenneville said there was a good chance Saad would play again Sunday at Detroit in his fourth preseason game.

Saad still isn't getting carried away by his success.

"That's always been the goal (to make the team), but being a younger guy it's definitely tough," Saad said. "I just tried to come in here and not think too much about it."

As for Kruger, who was minus-1 in Friday's win and 1-5 on faceoffs, with Toews, Patrick Sharp and Dave Bolland ahead of him on the depth chart at center, his best chance to make the team would appear to be on the fourth line.

"We don't slot guys," general manager Stan Bowman said. "But there would be nothing wrong with him playing anywhere on the lineup. When you're smart and competitive, and he has an edge to his game we saw last year. He's not afraid to go to the net.

Quenneville sees a lot of things in Kruger the Hawks could use.

"One thing that we appreciate about him, he has a pretty good sense as far as how he approaches his positioning and his anticipation," Quenneville said. "I think he's sneaky a little offensively. He can see plays and make plays and has good patience with the puck."

Share this page
    help here