Redshirt unlikely for Potulny despite three-month hiatus

Adam Fink

Despite facing a three-month recovery period after suffering a broken left fibula and ligament damage in his ankle, Grant Potulny is not being considered for a medical redshirt this season.

Minnesota’s men’s hockey captain said Sunday he hopes to be skating by late December and return to game action by January.

Coach Don Lucia said if Potulny can come back by January, the Gophers plan to welcome him with open arms. If Potulny encounters any setbacks or someone emerges, Lucia plans to re-evaluate the situation.

“There is every indication that Grant will back in time to help us this season,” Lucia said. “He is a role model and a captain. As long as he can come back and contribute, he will be able to play for us.”

Potulny underwent surgery last Thursday, and said the doctors “didn’t find anything unusual in the leg.”

The injuries occurred after Potulny crashed into the boards feet first against Ohio State Oct. 12.

“I want to compete,” the 6-foot-2, 203-pound left wing said. “I will have half a year to help the team. I think once I get out there, I will get going.”

In two seasons, Potulny has established himself as a feared player on the power play and a clutch playoff performer.

The Grand Forks, N.D., native has recorded 24 power play goals while establishing himself as a staple on the team’s power play last season.

With Potulny roaming the goal mouth, the Gophers have finished second in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in each of the last two seasons in power-play efficiency.

For his career, Potulny has notched six goals in four NCAA tournament games. During last year’s Frozen Four, Potulny scored three goals in two games en route to being named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.

If Potulny doesn’t play again this season, he would have two full seasons to compete with his brother, Ryan, who has verbally committed to play for the Gophers next season.

But Potulny said he’d rather contribute this season.

Gophers drop in poll

a tie and a loss to New Hampshire this week dropped the Gophers to third in the U.S. College Hockey Online weekly poll while the Wildcats took over the top spot.