ANN ARBOR MI - DECEMBER 11: Jon Merrill #24 of the Michigan Wolverines celebrats a first period goal while playing the Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Stadium on December 11 2010 in Ann Arbor Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
The University of Michigan announced today that sophomore defenseman Jon Merrill would be suspended for the first 12 games of the season for a violation of team rules. The 12-game suspension means Merrill's first game back will be a pretty important series at Miami starting November 11th(The suspension counts Michigan's two exhibition games, and the Wolverines have an extremely compressed schedule early in the season, if that seems like he'll be back quick).
With Merrill also almost guaranteed to miss two series while at the World Juniors, that leaves him with just 20 regular season games this year, causing some to speculate that Merrill will seek somewhere else to play. The New Jersey Devils hold his NHL rights, while the Plymouth Whalers hold his OHL rights. Devils GM Lou Lamoriello made comments indicating that the Devils would respect the suspension rather than giving Merrill a Get Out of Jail Free Card. The same won't likely be true for the Whalers, who may have finally gotten the theoretical old lady beating they've been silently hoping for.
Elsewhere in suspension news, Nebraska-Omaha senior forward Alex Hudson, the Mavericks top returning scorer, has been suspended indefinitely for an unspecified training violation. This is speculation on my part, but given the indefinite nature of the suspension, perhaps Hudson failed to sufficiently Dance His Ass Off in the offseason, like his sister did on the eponymous reality show.
And in North Dakota, the Sioux are still waiting for freshman Colten St. Clair to make it through the NCAA Clearinghouse before he can play with the team.