Players Shuffling for Denver-Duluth Series
Mullen Will Sit; Garrison Cleared to Play
CHN Staff Report
The last two seasons, Denver — having won back-to-back national titles the previous two years — has lost in the first round of the WCHA tournament and failed to qualify for the NCAAs.
This year, the Pioneers have seen all sorts of issues, most particularly the loss of leading scorer Brock Trotter, who was apparently about to be suspended by the school so he left.
So the last thing Denver needs for this weekend's best-of-three first-round series against No. 8-seeded Minnesota-Duluth was more turmoil. But that's what it got.
Denver coach George Gwozdecky, who has never been shy about doing the "right" thing despite what time of year it is, has suspended forward/defenseman Patrick Mullen for Friday's Game 1. He can return Saturday.
Mullen received 10-minute misconducts in each game against Colorado College last weekend, both losses.
"Let's call it actions detrimental to the team," Gwozdecky said Wednesday to the Denver Post. "This will be important, for not only Patrick, but for his teammates. Coming down the home stretch as we are, every game will be competitive and close, and they'll be challenges. And we have to really maintain our focus and our cool."
Mullen has 21 points this season, fifth on the team. He took blame for the suspension, telling the Post, "It's my fault. I didn't control my emotions, and this time of year you really need to control them."
Meanwhile, Minnesota-Duluth gets Jason Garrison back, at least to practice. Garrison broke his right leg Feb. 1 at Wisconsin. It's still to be determined if he'll play.
The junior had 14 points in his first 25 games before the injury, which was tied for the team lead.
Minnesota-Duluth was a solid bubble team for the NCAAs before losing five in a row prior to last Saturday's win at Minnesota. It needs a sweep here to have an at-large shot.