Ben Smith came up short in the battle of rookies in their bids to remain on the Chicago Blackhawks' roster.
The forward was sent to Rockford of the American Hockey League on Friday as the Hawks activated center Marcus Kruger off the injured list.
Smith was battling with Jimmy Hayes, Andrew Shaw -- and Kruger to some extent -- for a roster spot. The 23-year-old Smith had two goals in three stints in nine regular season stints with the Hawks this season. During the Hawks' 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night, Smith had no shots on goal in 8 minutes, 15 seconds of ice time.
Meanwhile, both Hayes and Shaw continue to impress as they both scored against the Wild. Hayes has three goals in seven career games while Shaw has two in five. They, along with Smith, were recalled following injuries to Kruger (concussion), Daniel Carcillo (knee and seven-game suspension) and Patrick Sharp (wrist).
WGN-AM 720 reported Friday that Carcillo will undergo surgery on the ACL in his left knee and will miss the remainder of the season.
Kruger missed his eighth consecutive game with a concussion after being injured Dec. 26 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Kruger, 21, has three goals and seven assists in 34 games this season with the Hawks in his first full NHL season.
"We’ve got number problems, we’ve got roster problems," coach Joel Quenneville said following the Hawks' victory. "(Marcus Kruger) looks like he could be back here, playing on the weekend, so we’ll have to look at some options here, but we’re right at the (roster limit)."
One-timer: The Hawks didn't practice Friday and were scheduled to travel to Detroit to face the Red Wings on Saturday afternoon.
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