Although winger Daniel Carcillo is set to return to action, the Chicago Blackhawks were without three other players when they took the ice for practice Tuesday at the United Center.
Winger Patrick Kane, center Marcus Kruger and defenseman Steve Montador didn't practice for a variety of reasons. Kane has the flu, Kruger suffered an upper-body injury during the Hawks' 4-1 victory over the Blue Jackets on Monday night and Montador sat out for what coach Joel Quenneville called "maintenance."
The real concern is Kruger, who missed a game last week with a concussion suffered when he was illegally checked into the boards by the Penguins' Deryk Engelland on Dec. 20. The rookie took several big hits against Columbus, including by Aaron Johnson, Rick Nash and Derek MacKenzie, but remained in the game. Quenneville said he's not sure if this latest injury is the result of a particular hit.
"It's hard to say," Quenneville said. "I don't know if there was a defining blow or not."
Meanwhile, Carcillo practiced for the second consecutive day and said he's ready to return to action after missing five games in a row with what is believed to be a concussion suffered Dec. 14 against the Minnesota Wild.
"My lungs are burning a little less (Tuesday), which is nice," Carcillo said after practice, his second after not skating for 10 days. "Other than that I feel good."
Carcillo added that in his mind he's good to go against the Kings but isn't sure if Quenneville will give him the call.
"I have no idea," Carcillo said. "The team's playing well and winning. I just have to kind of work hard and get back in shape and just wait until they tell me."
Blackhawks shorthanded during practice