Dave Bolland will miss his third straight game with an unspecified upper-body injury when the Blackhawks visit the St. Louis Blues on Thursday. Bolland was at Johnny's IceHouse West on Wednesday morning, but did not participate in the team's practice, and will not be on the trip.
"Bolly's progressing, hopefully he gets on the ice in the next couple of days," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "He's improving every day."
That means usual fourth-liner Marcus Kruger will again be centering the Hawks' second line. Kruger said Wednesday that nothing changes even though he's between Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp instead of Michael Frolik and Jamal Mayers.
"It's great to play with those kinds of players like Kaner and Sharpie, that's exciting," Kruger said. "But for me it doesn't change a thing really. I have to try to play there same game as I did. That's the key to being successful."
Defenseman Steve Montador, who hasn't played since suffering a concussion last March, again practiced with the team. He's still not on the active roster, but he's been skating regularly with the Hawks and with Rostislav Olesz (knee) when the team doesn't skate.
Given how well newcomers Michal Rozsival and Sheldon Brookbank have played in that sixth defenseman role, it'll be interesting to see if and how Montador fits in the lineup once he's cleared to play. Montador still has three years remaining on the four-year, $11-million deal he signed before last season.
Quenneville said he wasn't concerned about Montador's role.
"No, we like decisions like that, where we've got some depth," he said. "We feel organizationally, this year is as deep as we've been. And he gives us another option on the back end. But we've been very pleased with how our defense has played to date. We'll see."
Quenneville also said Corey Crawford will get the start in net against the Blues. The Hawks have a home game against Columbus the following day, so Ray Emery likely will get the call.