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02-26-2009, 02:20 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Location: St. Cloud, MN
Gonna be without Zabs and Rioux this weekend, that hurts the D-core a lot.
The Huskies leave Thursday morning, snow permitting, for Denver. Two players who won't be on the flight will be defensemen Sam Zabkowicz and Nic Rioux. Zabkowicz, who is still suffering the effects of a concussion suffered Feb. 7 at Alaska Anchorage, had hoped to return this weekend against the fifth-ranked Pioneers. And Rioux, who practiced on Monday at the National Hockey Center but missed workouts Tuesday and Wednesday at the Municipal Athletic Complex, suddenly began experiencing pain from an infection that settled in his left elbow. The complication was unexpected because Rioux had not been cut or otherwise injured on his arm before it began to swell.
"The frustrating thing for us is those are two guys who would be in there this weekend -- guys we need," Huskies coach Bob Motzko said after Wednesday's workout. "(Zabkowicz) has missed three weeks of practice right now, so you don't know how soon he's going to be back. And Rioux? C'mon. Give me an injury, at least something we can expect. Not some infection that comes up out of nowhere."
Brett Barta, who missed the past seven games with a shoulder injury, is expected to return. And forward Jared Festler, who has been plagued by a high ankle sprain since before New Year's Day, will be back.
But suddenly SCSU's sometimes patchy defensive corps has sprung a leak again.
Medical personnel worked on Rioux's arm the past couple of days, treating him for the infection and trying to drain the resulting pus from his system. It wasn't pretty, and even led to some gallows humor from his teammates. Chris Hepp, for example, said Rioux's arm looked like he had "elephantitis."
Neither Rioux or Zabkowicz are ruled out for the regular-season finale series against MSU-Mankato, but they'll be behind this weekend as the remaining seven healthy defensemen make the trip. It likely means a third consecutive appearance for junior Craig Gaudet, who has an assist in each of his three games this season.
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