This has been a trying season for college hockey. The off-ice and on-ice incidents continue to mount -- fights, arrests, other misconduct -- as do player defections. And in the case of talented Denver sophomore Brock Trotter, he fits into both categories.
Trotter recently signed a pro deal with the Montreal Canadians, and has been assigned to their AHL affiliate in Hamilton. Trotter left Denver -- the No. 4 team in the country -- as its top scorer.
The school merely announced this as fact, and heaped empty platitudes on Trotter on his way out. Some naive media simply reported this and lamented his departure. Others went crazy, deriding the NHL for again pilfering a college player in mid-season, as the New York Islanders did with Kyle Okposo earlier.
Reading between the lines, however, it appears Trotter had already been disciplined by Denver for mysterious reasons. Since then, sources indicate that Trotter was, or was about to be, kicked out of school. Thus, Denver coach George Gwozdecky likely helped the undrafted Trotter find a pro deal.
That sordid story notwithstanding, the past two weeks have seen a continuation of the bad boys of college hockey syndrome pervasive to this season. There were two on-ice fights -- including one between North Dakota and Minnesota -- then an all-out rumble in a game between RIT and Canisius that led to eight suspensions.
At Michigan, talented freshman defenseman Kevin Quick was booted off the team for apparently stealing a credit card, possibly from a teammate, and running up a bill. And the ECAC got into the party by suspended Cornell defenseman Joe Devin two games for a nasty hit on St. Lawrence's Jared Ross.
Hopefully, with the postseason around the corner, this is all behind us, and we can get back to enjoying the games.
Northern Michigan tied Michigan at Yost Arena two weekends ago and followed it up with a home sweep of the defending champs Michigan State.
"The week before Michigan, we had a really good attitude on the ice," said NMU forward Nick Sirota, who had a natural hat trick Friday in his team's 3-1 win. "It seems like all week, everyone was excited about the weekend and going to play Michigan, and the young guys hadn't played there before ... tying them twice gave us some really good confidence that we could hang with the tough times. Everyone is playing as a team at this point. It's all about winning games and trying to get home ice in the playoffs. Once you carry momentum like this, we want to carry it to the end of the season."
The surge has gotten NMU into a current seventh-place tie with Ferris State. The 5-8 spots in the CCHA will get home ice for the playoffs in the first round. Alaska-Fairbanks is just one point back, in ninth.
Anyone who didn't get in trouble.
Special mention to Nick Petrecki, the Boston College freshman defenseman and first-round draft pick of the San Jose Sharks, who scored twice in Monday's Beanpot final, including the OT game winner.
Normally the domain of Boston University, which has won 28 of 56 Beanpots, Boston College won its first Beanpot since 2004.
Last year, the NCAA Men's and Women's Ice Hockey Rules Committee decided there would no longer be ties in college hockey, and spent the last year figuring out the best way to accomplish this. Forrest Karr -- the committee chairperson and athletic director at at Alaska-Fairbanks -- is taking a survey of coaches to get their opinions.
At College Hockey News, we did the same thing and discovered that most coaches want to keep the status quo. Among the minority, there is no consensus on what to do about overtimes. The options include shootouts, 10-minute OTs and other creative schemes.
But the bottom line remains -- most coaches want to keep things as is. With so few games, the competition is already intense and doesn't need artificial melodrama.
We're giving a five-minute major to those in the North American media who misreported or misunderstood the Trotter situation ... and unfairly lumped it in with the Okposo mess. Not that I am defending the NHL from what happened in the Okposo situation, but this was not in that category.
The Trotter situation inspired a bevy of columns deriding the NHL for stealing another college player in mid-season. But incorrectly bashing the NHL doesn't help to solve the real issue.
Minnesota State has won six in a row, and takes that streak into a two-game set at Wisconsin. Those two teams are currently tied for fourth in the WCHA.
Adam Wodon is the Managing Editor for College Hockey News. He has covered college hockey as a writer and broadcaster for 19 years.