- Scott Powers, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Michal Handzus missed practice on Thursday due to an undisclosed injury and is expected back on the ice on Friday, according to Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville.
Handzus left Tuesday’s game against the Washington Capitals midway through the second period but returned to the game for the third period. He saw 10:28 of ice time in the Blackhawks’ 6-4 victory. He also missed all six of the Blackhawks’ preseason games.
The Blackhawks’ next game is against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the United Center on Saturday.
“I think if he was better he would be out there,” Quenneville said after Thursday’s practice at the United Center. “We would like him to stay on the ice. We had [Wednesday] off. But he’ll be out there [Friday.]”
Handzus played through a broken wrist and torn MCL during the Stanley Cup finals last season. He underwent surgery to both repair both areas in the offseason.
Quenneville said Thursday he wasn’t concerned about Handzus’ durability this season.
“He plays a hard game, a big guy,” Quenneville said. “We’ll keep an eye on him. If he’s able to go, he plays through a lot of annoyances and different injuries and different stages of it. He’s fine.”
Marcus Kruger replaced Handzus as the second-line center during practice on Thursday. Kruger played in that spot on a few occasions last season.
Kruger wasn’t sure Thursday whether he’d get more opportunities on the second line going forward.
“You always want to play as much as you can,” Kruger said. “If you get the opportunity, you’re going to try to do your best. But we will see what is going to happen here. I don’t worry too much about that. I just try to play the same game no matter who I play with.”