Bad news for Boston College hockey as they get set for this weekend's two-game series against Northeastern: Steve Santini will once again be out for the weekend due to the after-effects of his wrist injury, according to The Boston College Hockey Blog, BCHB later reported on Twitter that Santini is expected to play next weekend when BC takes on Boston University at Agganis Arena.
Steve Santini has been out of the lineup since November 1 when he suffered a wrist injury during BC's game at Denver, an injury which required surgery. Not surprisingly, Santini's absence was immediately followed up by a 4-game losing streak and a spike in BC's goals-allowed numbers. Santini is arguably BC's best defenseman, and his leadership and physical presence have been missed. After he had the pins removed from his wrist right before Christmas, there was hope that Santini could be ready to represent the U.S. at the World Junior Championships, but that obviously was not meant to be.
While it's a tough blow to not have Santini in the lineup this weekend, it's certainly not the worst thing for him to not rush back and make sure he gets back to 100% before returning—especially considering that the team's improving play means they're a little less desperate to slot him in than they may have been a few weeks ago. BC's defense corps has allowed two or fewer goals in 6 of BC's last 7 games, so here's hoping they continue to play well even in Santini's absence this weekend against the Huskies.
When Santini returns, coach Jerry York will have a decision to make with regard to Danny Linell, who has slotted in as BC's #6 defenseman. Linell could theoretically stay in the lineup either by bumping another defenseman (probably unlikely) or by being re-inserted into one of the four forward lines (quite possible). The question would then be which of the 12 forwards comes out of the lineup—something we'll discuss and debate in more detail next week.