The absence of freshman winger Nic Kerdiles from University of Wisconsin men's hockey practice Tuesday raised some eyebrows, but it wasn't as it seemed.

UW coach Mike Eaves said Kerdiles had a persistent headache that began Monday and continued Tuesday, which led to him being excused from drills at the behest of athletic trainer Andy Hrodey.

"I just don't think it's worth him going out there if you're going to bang around,'' Eaves said, relating his conversation with Hrodey. "We were going to bang around.'' 

School officials learned last Friday that Kerdiles had been ruled ineligible for a year by the NCAA for violations of its code of amateurism. That suspension was announced Monday, the same day school officials said they were appealing the decision on behalf of the 18-year-old from Irvine, Calif.

It's possible the NCAA could respond to the appeal this week. The Badgers open the regular season Friday and Saturday with a non-league series with Northern Michigan at the Resch Center in suburban Green Bay.

Eaves was asked if there's a deadline for Kerdiles, a second-round NHL draft pick of Anaheim, to make a decision on his future should the NCAA not respond promptly. It's expected that if the suspension stands, he will leave school to continue his hockey development on the Major Junior circuit in Canada. If the suspension is reduced, Kerdiles and his family will have to weigh their options depending on the length of the down time.

"I've heard rumors (of a deadline), but there's no foundation to those,'' Eaves said. 

Kerdiles had been projected to work left wing on the top line, but that spot now belongs to sophomore Joseph LaBate, who's skating with junior center Mark Zengerle and junior right winger Tyler Barnes.

The other UW lines at practice Tuesday had senior Derek Lee centering freshman Morgan Zulinick and junior Michael Mersch, sophomore Brendan Woods between sophomore Brad Navin and junior Keegan Meuer, and junior Jefferson Dahl centering senior Ryan Little and junior Sean Little.

On defense, Eaves had junior Chase Drake with senior John Ramage, sophomore Jake McCabe with junior Frankie Simonelli and freshman Kevin Schulze and with junior Joe Faust.

 

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