The turning point for any decision to return to the lineup was fairly simple for Brian Campbell.
"Well, if I say I can go and they allow me to go," the Chicago Blackhawks defenseman said Wednesday.
It appears there is an affirmative on both counts heading into tonight's game against the Panthers. Campbell has missed the last three games and four of the last five, but he said he feels "there's a good shot" he will return to the lineup -- and coach Joel Quenneville agreed.
"I thought he looked really good today," Quenneville said after his team's morning skate. "He pushed himself more than he did yesterday. He looks like he's ready to go tonight. We're hopeful he's ready to play."
It would be a boost for a lineup already without Dave Bolland and Patrick Sharp on the front end, given Campbell's puck-moving capabilities and plus-28 rating on the season.
But there is another addition, for certain, to the Hawks lineup whether Campbell goes or not: Swedish center Marcus Kruger has arrived.
The 20-year-old center landed in Chicago on Tuesday, brought over once his season ended with Djurgardens of the Swedish Elite League. The former fifth-round pick from 2009 jumped on a line with Troy Brouwer and Bryan Bickell at the morning skate.
The Hawks are hopeful he can compensate for Bolland's absence, especially, though general manager Stan Bowman said the plan all along was to bring Kruger over once his commitment to his Swedish team ended.
"I just try to play my game, keep the puck and do what I can to help the team," Kruger said. "What the coaches want me to do, I'll do 100 percent. It's obviously a good team, defending champions, many great players here. It's going to be a lot of fun."
That more or less parroted the instructions the Hawks staff gave Kruger before his NHL debut.
"We told him tonight, just trust your instincts, play your game," Quenneville said. "Try to go through the systems but at the same time, play hockey. Your strength is your anticipation, your mindset. He should be fine."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun