Kruger, Timonen out; Kane 'pushing' himself back home


ST. LOUIS -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Marcus Kruger will not play against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday due to an illness, coach Joel Quenneville said.

Quenneville said Kruger traveled with the team on their two-game road trip and could play in their regular-season finale Saturday. Kruger has seven goals and 10 assists and leads the team’s forwards in shorthanded ice time in 80 games this season.

Blackhawks defenseman Kimmo Timonen did not travel with the team and will miss his second consecutive game due to an upper-body injury. Timonen suffered the injury against the Blues on Sunday. Quenneville said he expects Timonen to return for the playoffs. He has played in 16 games since being acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers on Feb. 27.

Blackhawk forward Patrick Kane also did not travel with the team to St. Louis. He remained in Chicago to continue his rehab after fracturing his clavicle on Feb. 24. He has yet to be cleared for contact, but Quenneville said the intensity of the workouts is increasing.

“I don’t necessarily say full contact, but he’s out there pushing as best he can,” Quenneville said. “I’m not sure [what he’s doing] because I’m not there. But he hasn’t had really any contact since we’ve been there. I think that might be ratcheting up as we go along here.”

Quenneville was still uncertain when Kane will be available. Kane was originally given a 12-week timetable to return after having surgery on Feb. 25.

“We’ll see,” Quenneville said. “We’ll get a better indication as we go along here, but I think he’s excited about where he’s progressed and where he’s at. But medically, that’s a barrier we’ll cross. But he’s done everything he can to put himself in that spot.”

Blackhawks forward Andrew Desjardins will replace Kruger as the team’s fourth-line center against the Blues. Desjardins was a healthy scratch against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. He has two assists in 11 games since being acquired from the San Jose Sharks on March 1.