(CBS) The Blackhawks activated forward Marcus Kruger from injured reserve Friday and sent Ben Smith to Rockford.

Kruger has been out since Dec. 26 with a concussion and missed eight games. With his return nearing, Smith had been battling with fellow rookies Andrew Shaw and Jimmy Hayes to stay on the Blackhawks’ roster.

Thursday’s 5-2 win over the Wild may have decided the battle. Shaw and Hayes both scored goals while Smith didn’t register a shot.

Kruger has racked up three goals and seven assists in 34 games this year with the Blackhawks. It is his first full season in the NFL.

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