UPDATE: Baggot noted that Zulinick was centering Mersch and sophomore Matt Paape at practice Tuesday.
Already shorthanded due to the 10-game suspension of freshman Nic Kerdiles, the Badgers will be without the services of another top-six forward this weekend as Derek Lee isn't expected to make the trip to Duluth.
According to a Tweet from the Wisconsin State Journal's Andy Baggot Tuesday afternoon, Lee crashed his scooter over the weekend and won't be available.
Senior center Derek Lee will miss Wisconsin-Duluth series after a weekend scooter mishap. No broken bones, just sore, said coach Mike Eaves.— Andy Baggot (@AndyBaggotWSJ) October 23, 2012
The good news in that report is that Lee is just sore, and doesn't have any broken bones.
Baggot noted that Lee collided with a car on Saturday after the vehicle stopped too quickly for him to react.
With admittedly no knowledge of how serious his injuries are, I'd expect Lee to miss no more than a weekend or two. After this weekend's road series at Minnesota-Duluth, the Badgers host Colorado College, and then have another bye weekend.
The senior forward was named an alternate captain in the off-season, and is expected to be a major piece to the puzzle for the Badgers this season.
The biggest area where Lee will be missed this weekend is on the power-play. Lee had taken over Justin Schultz's spot on the PP, and now Eaves will be forced to insert someone like Kevin Schulze or Frankie Simonelli into that role for the weekend.
Lee has been an effective player for the Badgers when he's been in the lineup during his career, but has had a tough time staying healthy.
Lee missed significant time during two different stretches last season. A laceration during a game against Nebraska-Omaha forced Lee to miss 11 games, and a concussion against North Dakota forced him to the sidelines for nine more.
The North Vancouver, B.C. native registered 11 points in the 17 games he did play last season. With his expanded role on the power-play, Lee was expected to be a point-per-game guy for the Badgers this season.
Even strength, the Badgers have a few different options to replace Lee. One of them would include moving Keegan Meuer up to center on that second unit between Morgan Zulinick and Michael Mersch. Another option would be moving Zulinick to the middle.
Either way, the Badgers will certainly miss what Lee brings to the table this weekend. Just another opportunity for this Wisconsin club to fight through some adversity.
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