Monday, December 28, 2009

Bergin's back

DETROIT -- "...and at defense, a sophomore from Ottawa, No. 8 Mike Bergin."
After missing eight games with what was thought to be a minor concussion, Rensselaer's prized two-way standout defenseman will return to tonight, says head coach Seth Appert, against Michigan in the first round of the Great Lakes Invitational.
"Darn near 100 percent," Appert said of Bergin's playing chances tonight. "Unless he falls down walking out of the Joe Louis Arena and breaks something, he'll play."
Likewise for freshman forward C.J. Lee (ankle, Appert said.
"Unless he falls down walking out of the Joe or slips on a patch of ice walks on the way back to the hotel, he'll play.
"The (Christmas) break was good for both those guys," Appert said. "Obviously, we won against BU (Boston), so we have a some momentum but the couple days of practice is the first time in two months we've had a full lineup, other than Jerry (D'Amigo) being gone (World Junior Tournament) or we haven't had three, four, five guys in orange jerseys for non contact.
"We're a better team when we have our full complement of players," Appert added.
Which defenseman will sit for Bergin?
Likely senior Christian Jensen, but not definitely.
Jensen, an NHL draft pick (San Jose), didn't play until Bergin got hurt but he's played well. Several other 'D' men have had a lackluster game or two in the meantime.
"Actually, I haven't decided that yet," Appert said, "and it's not automatically Christian Jensen because I think Christian's played pretty good."
Appert said the decision will be a tough one.
Who's in goal: The fourth-year coach faces a decision there, too, since starter Allen York had struggled of late and freshman backup Bryce Merriam played so well in the victory at BU.
Appert pointed out that York had "stubbed his toe in three of the past four games and said, "I think Bryce has gotten better and better and better and he's put himself in position to contend for a (starting) position on a daily basis."
Appert said he's "strongly leaning toward Allen playing (tonight) and playing Bryce on Wednesday."
Kennedy flub: Junior defenseman and team captain John Kennedy shouted to a teammate during a drill on Monday, "make it look real, don't just go through the motions."
Seconds later, Kennedy flubbed a pass at the point, as the puck bounced off his stick and out of the offensive zone.
Kennedy seemed to have to force the smile on his face.
"He gets on somebody, then he ruins the drill," fellow D-man Erik Burgdoerfer joked with a deadpan delivery.
Cullen first: Sophomore winger Patrick Cullen was first out of the RPI locker room prior to Monday's practice, impatiently waiting on the bench while the Joe Louis Arena ice was still being resurfaced.
"I'm psyched to play here," Cullen said.


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