From: Rocky Mountain News
by Pat Rooney
The University of Denver hockey team will begin the penultimate stretch of the regular season tonight, but it will do so without its top offensive performer.
Brock Trotter, the Pioneers' leader in goals and assists, did not make the trip for DU's Western Collegiate Hockey Association series that begins tonight at Minnesota State.
Contacted on Thursday in Minnesota, coach George Gwozdecky declined to elaborate on why Trotter was left behind, neither confirming nor refuting the possibility Trotter had broken a team rule. The team typically discloses information when an injury or illness forces a player out of the lineup.
Gwozdecky indicated more information might be forthcoming after the weekend, and he would not comment on Trotter's status for next weekend's home series against Minnesota.
"I can't tell a lot about why he is not with us," Gwozdecky said. "All I can say is that each guy on our team has a private life and at this point in time, we have to respect his privacy. This was an internal decision to not have him on the trip."
The loss of Trotter, a redshirt sophomore, could not occur at a more untimely juncture for the Pioneers, who enter this weekend's series ranked third in the PairWise rankings.
Coming off a bye, DU plays its remaining 12 regular-season games without a break and will be toiling under the specter of consecutive late-season collapses that have kept the Pioneers out of the NCAA tournament the past two seasons.
Trotter has played left wing on a line centered by freshman Tyler Bozak throughout the season, and lately, Trotter has been DU's most consistent scoring threat. Trotter had compiled 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in the past eight games and he ranks 11th nationally with 31 points.
The contests tonight and Saturday will be the first Trotter has missed since a severed Achilles' tendon robbed him of all but the first five games of his true freshman campaign in 2005-06.
If there is a silver lining to Trotter's absence, it is that Gwozdecky has mixed his line combinations throughout the season, so DU's altered pairings this weekend should not cause a catastrophic adjustment period. Bozak and Trotter, for example, have played with five different right wings in the past five games, and Bozak is expected to center a line tonight with wings Kyle Ostrow and Tyler Ruegsegger.
"There is a little bit of an adjustment, but that is one of the things that has been consistent about this team - the mixing and matching of lines," Gwozdecky said. "It should be no surprise for anyone to move and play with other people."