Michal Handzus out for 'little bit'

Updated: October 26, 2013, 8:32 PM ET
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks center Michal Handzus sat out Saturday's game against the Minnesota Wild and could potentially miss more time due to an upper-body injury, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said on Saturday.

[+] EnlargeMichal Handzus
Joel Auerbach/Getty ImagesMichal Handzus will miss one game and perhaps more as he recovers from an upper-body injury. Marcus Kruger will replace Handzus as the second-line center.

"Could be out for a little bit, we'll see," Quenneville said after the team's morning skate at the United Center.

Quenneville was asked to clarify how long Handzus could be out of the lineup, and Quenneville said it would be more than a couple of days.

The 36-year-old Handzus played through a broken wrist and torn MCL during the Stanley Cup finals last season. He underwent surgery to repair both areas in the offseason. He missed all six of the team's preseason games this season to continue rehab. He has one goal and two assists and averaged 13:18 of ice time in nine games this season.

The Blackhawks acquired Handzus in a trade with the San Jose Sharks near the trade deadline last season. He had one goal and five assists in 11 regular-season games with the Blackhawks and three goals and eight assists in 23 games in the playoffs. He signed a one-year deal with the Blackhawks in July.

Marcus Kruger replaced Handzus as the team's second-line center during the morning skate on Saturday. Kruger has three assists and averaged 14:43 of ice time in 10 games this season.

"Kruges, he's a reliable guy," Quenneville said. "Offensively, we probably haven't given him that much of that opportunity to play up there in those type of situations, but he's capable. Defensively, he's reliable. But offensively, we've had him on the power play over the course of a couple three years ago. I think he's useful, and we'll get to see how he does."

Quenneville thought the second line might be able to get in a better offensive groove with Kruger possessing more speed than Handzus. Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane, the second-line wingers, have combined for four even-strength goals this season.

"I think that line was okay," Quenneville said. "I think offensively not a lot was happening there. Hopefully, we can get a little spark there."

The Blackhawks have recorded points in nine of their first 10 games. They are 6-1-3 and have 15 points this season entering Saturday.

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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