While the severity of Jake Parenteau's injury was apparent from the moment it happened, his diagnosis is still disappointing.
The Minnesota senior defenseman is expected to be out 8 weeks with a broken leg, head coach Don Lucia said Saturday after his team's 3-2 win. This comes from Mike Eidelbes, reporting from East Lansing, Michigan this weekend for the Minneapolis Star Tribune (and formerly of Inside College Hockey).
Per Don Lucia, Parenteau broke his leg last night. He’ll have surgery in Mpls Monday. Docs will determine time on shelf—could be 8 wks.— Mike Eidelbes (@INCH) December 7, 2013
Parenteau, who has one assist in 13 games, was visibly in pain after checking a Spartans player 5:12 into Friday's 2-2 tie. (Michigan State won a shootout to take the extra league point.) He put no weight on his right leg and went straight to the locker room.
He will undergo surgery Monday.
The broken leg for Parenteau, one of two senior defensemen on this year's team, is tough for a player in his final season of college hockey. If there is good news it's that Minnesota is off the next three weeks for finals and winter break. He won't miss as many games like he would if the injury occurred during a different part of the year.
Still, Minnesota has gone through its depth on the blue line and then some. The Gophers currently is 12-2-2 overall and leads the Big Ten with 10 points. Entering the season with eight defensemen, freshman Tommy Vannelli left campus for Medicine Hat (WHL) before the season started. Now Minnesota could be down to five on the blue line with Parenteau out for an extended period of time and Brady Skjei missing the Mariucci Classic to play for Team USA in the World Juniors.
This is where Vannelli or Blake Thompson (who transferred to Minnesota State midway through last season) or even one of the juniors from last year's team that left early would be nice to have as added depth.
It's strange to think that a team which played Justin Holl as a forward for the entire season due to depth last year now has the minimum, but that's where Minnesota, also without forwards Tom Serratore and Vinni Lettieri this past weekend, is at for the foreseeable future.
Choosing which defenseman sits has been a tough yet good problem for Lucia this season. Seven defensemen playing well and pushing each other for six spots is a bonus. Now that problem is gone for the next couple months.
Plus at least Parenteau is in good spirits.
Just want to say thanks to my family, friends, teammates and fans for all the support! Means a lot! #PrideOnIce— Jake Parenteau (@jacobjames6) December 8, 2013
Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation and College Hockey News. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate