Marcus Kruger is one of 10 Chicago Blackhawks who will participate in the World Cup of Hockey. Kruger, who missed most of last season with a dislocated left wrist, talked with Patrik Bexell of Habs Eyes on the Prize about his injury recovery, playing for the Swedish national team and what it’s like suiting up against his Chicago teammates.
Kruger recently missed some of Sweden’s warmup games to ensure he’s at 100 percent for the real deal, and based on his conversation with Bexell, it sounds like that was all precautionary. But before Kruger suits back up for the Hawks, there’s a shot at the gold medal in Toronto.
Patrik Bexell: How has your hand recovered?
Marcus Kruger: Good, I think. It has been quite some time since it happened and I returned to play at the end of the season. It was important to show that I could play before all this kicked off, that I have had all summer to have a proper rehab in order to get it into as good shape as possible.
PB: And rehab went well, you don’t feel any effects of the injury lingering?
MK: It has all gone according to plan, it feels really — I will continue to monitor it if I gets any kind of tension or becomes sore, but so far so good.
PB: You are a role player in this team, much like you have played in Chicago the last few seasons. How is it being a part of a talented team like this?
MK: Yeah we have a great team here, and for a guy like me it’s huge to just be part of it. I will do everything in my power to give the team what they want from me. It comes down to get in there and work hard and do my best for the team.
PB: You’ll be in one of the box play formations by the look of it?
MK: We will see how it turns out but right now I am there. Again I have to be observant and do what I can to show that I want to be out there. I have to listen during the meetings and prepare myself to really be ready when the opportunity knocks on the door.
PB: This changes your normal preseason quite a bit for you, how does that change your preparation for the season?
MK: This is really a mini NHL camp and it will be tough games directly. There is no warmup period, you have to hit full gas from the get go. We can’t really hold back and the best will have to play right from the start. We have to gel as a team directly because the tournament is so short, and every team that are in it are so skillful so we can’t afford to have any bad days because then we will be out of the tournament in a second. We have to take these first three friendlies seriously and gel as a team in order to perform well when tournament starts.
PB: Do you have any contact with any of the players in the other teams?
MK: Not really, I mean we returned to the ice in Chicago during July and of course there was a lot of talk around World Cup. As you say we have a whole bunch of players being involved. It will be fun to get to play against some of them, too.
PB: Any internal bets going on?
MK: We don’t do that, but to have bragging rights within the locker room is important as well. Of course it will be special, we practice every day and then we play them. You don’t play them very often, which might be quite good in that respect, it will be a great tournament. We all want to compete. There is nothing better than to beat your friends at something, we are still like kids when it comes to that.
Not saying it wouldn’t be nice to just walk in after the tournament with a gold medal around my neck, it definitely would be.