Smirnov Remains Sidelined with Illness
by Sara Civian/CHN Reporter
Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky announced a couple weeks ago that star forward Denis Smirnov will miss “a few weeks” with an undisclosed injury.
Gadowsky first mentioned the sophomore was suffering from an “undisclosed illness” after Penn State’s 7-4 loss to Mercyhurst on Nov. 4. The illness, sources indicate, is not hockey related, and that although you can expect those “few weeks” to be longer rather than shorter, he’s expected to make a full recovery.
The Colorado Avalanche prospect (sixth round, 2017) led all freshmen in the NCAA with 47 points (19 goals, 28 assists) in 39 games last season. He was picking up right where he left off in 2017-18, with five goals and six assists for 11 points in eight games.
Penn State has struggled without him, losing four of the last five, though that's certainly not the only reason.
Although Gadowsky has been shuffling the lines quite a bit throughout the beginning of the season, Smirnov had been exclusively playing left wing with Nate Sucese at center, usually with Brandon Biro at right wing.
Smirnov wasn’t just putting up the numbers — he was doing it when it counted, with three game-winners (St. Lawrence, Minnesota, AIC) on the season so far.
Coming off getting swept at Notre Dame, Penn State heads to Arizona State this week, then resumes Big Ten play with Michigan State at Pegula Arena.