Tag:Marcus Kruger
Posted on: December 22, 2011 2:43 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 2:57 pm
 

Pens' Deryk Engelland suspended three games

By Brian Stubits

Deryk Engelland of the Pittsburgh Penguins delivered a pretty reckless hit on Blackhawks forward Marcus Kruger. It was a game-changing play in that the only penalty that resulted was an instigator penalty on Chicago's John Scott for the ensuing fight with Engelland. The Penguins scored on the ensuing penalty and won the game 3-2.

Well it took a couple of days, but Engelland was punished after all.

Department of Player Safety head Brendan Shanahan announced on Thursday that Engelland will be suspended three games for the hit. Here is his customary video.

This was one of the most clean-cut and easiest calls Shanahan has had so far. The explanation video is brief and doesn't give much in the way of a defense for Engelland at all.

The overriding factors are easy to see. Engelland launched himself off the ice to make the hit. More egregious was the fact that he finished the hit so high that his hands were elevated well above his own head on the follow through. Shanahan notes that Engelland had Kruger lined up for what could have been a clean hit but instead rose off the ice and made the head the principle point of the contact.

Also important to note for Shanahan is the fact that Kruger was diagnosed with a concussion. Whether you think it is right or not, injuries are taken into consideration for Shanahan on his judgments.

I think only the blindest of Penguins homers can complain about this decision. The baffling part is that the referees didn't make the call on the ice and it hamstrung the Blackhawks. It resulted in a quiet and obviously angry locker room after the game and has led to Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews preaching music to almost every hockey fan's ears in his disdain for the instigator penalty.

More NHL Discipline News Here

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Posted on: December 20, 2011 10:54 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 10:59 pm
 

Deryk Engelland's hit on Marcus Kruger (Video)



By: Adam Gretz

PITTSBURGH -- One of the most talked about plays during Pittsburgh's 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night was Deryk Engelland's hit (as seen in the above video) on Blackhawks forward Marcus Kruger in the first period. Even though Engelland was not penalized, it turned out to be a huge play in the game, and perhaps a decisive play.

Not only was it a questionable hit that will probably get a second look from the NHL, but the Penguins actually came away with a power play in the aftermath due to a fight between Engelland and Blackhawks forward John Scott, arguably the toughest and most intimidating heavyweight in the NHL. Both players were assessed five minute majors for fighting, while Scott picked up an additional instigator penalty as well as a 10-minute misconduct. The Penguins eventually scored on the ensuing power play thanks to Chris Kunitz's 12th goal of the season, and in a game that was decided by a single goal, that's an early (and huge) turning point.

Kruger was able to return to the game briefly, taking a couple of shifts throughout the remainder of the first period, but did not get a single shift over the final 40 minutes of regulation. After the game Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said, "He's doing OK now, but we'll see tomorrow, we'll have a better idea of how he's doing. Tough hit, high hit. Tough area, tough spot."

Even though Scott's instigator penalty put the Blackhawks down a man and resulted in a goal against, his teammates were quite accepting of the additional penalty he took in an effort to stick up for his teammate.

"We have to find a way to kill that off for him," said forward Viktor Stalberg. "That's why we have him in the lineup some nights, he did what he's supposed to do."

"I'm always going to stand up for my teammates," said Scott. "I'm going to do that everytime, no matter who it is. I think anybody else on the team would have done the same thing."

The question now becomes whether or not the NHL has an issue with Engelland's hit. The first angle is difficult to see how much, if any, contact was made with the head, but when you look at the second and third angles it becomes a little more clear that Kruger took a hit to the head.

"I'm sure they'll take a look at it," said Stalberg. "I think we felt like he left his feet a little bit there."

More NHL Discipline News Here

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Posted on: December 1, 2011 3:08 pm
 

Blackhawks move Patrick Kane back to right wing

By Brian Stubits

There's a reason why Patrick Kane's move to center was called an experiment by the Blackhawks. It's because it was not guaranteed to be permanent. Now it's guaranteed it WON'T be permanent as he was moved to his original position of right wing on Thursday.

Kane had been playing at center since just before the season began due to some concerns about the depth of the position on the roster. But now, after 24 games, there is more than enough confidence in Marcus Kruger's ability to play big minutes in the middle. So much, in fact, that he was moved up to the second-line center, the spot Kane held, while Kane was reunited with Jonathan Toews on the first line.

"Once I start playing and get a few shifts under my belt I'll realize what I used to do on the ice at that position," Kane told Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune. "I used to be good at it, setting up plays and different things like that. I've been playing [wing] since I was 15 years old so that's seven, eight years under my belt and you develop a game over there so I'm excited to be back."

Considering the success he has had in his career playing alongside Toews, that only makes sense. Although it isn't as if his scoring has suffered from moving to center. Despite zero goals and three assists in his last six games, Kane still has 24 points (7-17--24) in 25 games this season. Still, it's typically a good idea to have your talented players in a natural position.

"I felt that I got pretty comfortable at the position," Kane said of center. "I'll still try to do some things I did at center where you're trying to get the puck a lot down low, moving up ice. "It was definitely a bit of a challenge, especially playing a position seven, eight years you get so used to playing the right side. I don't think (playing center) is totally out of the books yet; it's something they probably could go back to if they need it."

Well, welcome back to the top line. Now he gets to play with Toews again and perhaps get more opportunities to show off how exactly he scores goals.

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: November 10, 2011 10:05 pm
Edited on: November 10, 2011 10:17 pm
 

Steve Montador is here to fix 'Hawks power play



By: Adam Gretz

The Chicago Blackhawks entered Thursday's game in Columbus with the worst power play unit in the NHL, converting on just five of their 57 attempts on the man advantage. That was not going to continue, simply because the Blackhawks have too many gifted playmakers and too much firepower on the roster to allow it to continue.

Perhaps all they needed was a game with the Columbus Blue Jackets to get things going in the right direction. Or maybe they just needed to give Steve Montador, of all people, a little bit of time on the power play.

During their 6-3 win over the Blue Jackets, who continue to secure their spot at the bottom of the NHL standings, the Blackhawks had a breakout game of sorts on the power play, going 2-for-3 during the win. It was the first time all season they scored more than one power play goal in a game, which is definitely good news. The surprising development isn't so much that they finally started to score, it's that it wasn't the usual suspects -- Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa -- getting the goals. And not only were they not the ones getting the goals, they weren't even on the ice.

Both power play goals came with the same group of players on the ice: Duncan Keith, Steve Montador, Nick Leddy, Andrew Brunette and Marcus Kruger. That's three defensemen and two forwards.

Montador is probably the most surprising name on the list, seeing as how entering Thursday night he had played just 8:32 of power play time during the regular season. That's an average of just 32 seconds per game. And not only did he play nearly two minutes on the power play on Thursday, the Blackhawks had him planted in front of the net, and he ended up recording two points, including his first goal of the season (shown above) as well as a helper on a power play goal scored by Brunette.

It was Montador's first power play goal since Jan. 29, 2008, and only the third of his career, so you probably shouldn't get used to seeing this.

Nice night for a struggling Blackhawks power play unit, and another ugly night for the Blue Jackets, whose record now stands at 2-12-1.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: September 26, 2011 11:04 am
Edited on: September 26, 2011 11:15 am
 

Blackhawks flirting with putting Kane at center

By Brian Stubits

If the Blackhawks have any hole on their roster as it's currently constructed, it would be at the center position. Coach Joel Quenneville would like to have more depth in the circle, especially since Marcus Kruger isn't completely impressing the staff.

So it isn't surprising that the team is looking from within to find an understudy. But it is a slight surprise that Patrick Kane is in the discussion. The star wingman has shown enough to get a tryout at center in the coming days. Tracey Myers of CSN Chicago had the quotes from Quenneville.

"He's been playing center throughout scrimmages and practices now and we'll see," Quenneville said.

"Defensively he's gotten better as he's grown in that position with us, down low on the walls. It's something we're going to at least take a look at."

As Myers points out, how about Michael Frolik? He's been a wing man since coming into the NHL but he has potential in the faceoff dot. And by trying him out you aren't disrupting the rhythm Kane has built with Jonathan Toews on the top line.

Even if he is the best of the rest for the Blackhawks at center, I would think he's too valuable to the team in his current position to move. Sure, he could be a fill-in, but I can't imagine the team is giving serious consideration into Kane being one of the four centers. No way would they move him to the another line just to fill the position.

Much more likely scenarios if Kruger doesn't convince them he can handle the center spot include shifting the aforementioned Frolik or maybe Jamal Mayers to the position. Or they could look to fill the void from within the system or even on the scrap heap that is remaining free agents -- John Madden is available for a return to Chicago.

As for Kane's feelings on the possibility, all Quenneville would say is that Kane is "not complaining."

Photo: Getty Images

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