After an up-and-down first season with the University of Wisconsin men's hockey team, the talk surrounding JD Greenway was about the acceleration of his growth curve.
After missing the first half of his sophomore season, the defenseman is now talking about a learning curve.
Greenway was absent from Badgers practices for more than a month while attending to what coach Tony Granato described as "personal things." He has yet to play a game this season, although that's likely to change in the coming weeks.
"He's got everything in order that needs to be in order," Granato said, "and now it's time to carry that over onto the ice and have an impact on our team."
It's not yet clear whether Greenway's season debut will be Friday or Saturday when the 15th-ranked Badgers play a Big Ten Conference series at No. 14 Penn State, or in a subsequent weekend.
There also are questions on where he will fit into a defensive lineup that has used the same six players in all 21 games.
Further questions exist about the specifics of why Greenway, who played in 34 of 36 games last season, has been on the outs.
Greenway declined to elaborate on the details, while Granato said it was neither a team nor academic suspension. Greenway's name wasn't found in Madison Police reports, according to a spokesperson.
"He just had some things off the ice, academically and some other things that we wanted to make sure were in a place where he could come back and be part of our team," Granato said. "It was a thing between him and I."
Said Greenway: "I'd say it's a learning curve. There's some personal stuff that I wasn't taking care of off the ice that translated over to on the ice. Now, getting past that, I think I'm just nothing but ready for moving forward."
A third-round draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2016, Greenway said he opened up to personnel with the NHL team to keep them in the loop. Granato said the Leafs were supportive of Greenway's time away from the ice.
"That's why they didn't pull him out of here and put him somewhere else," he said.
Greenway had one goal and seven points and was minus-4 in a freshman season where he showed promise but a lack of consistency in his own end of the ice.
He was absent when the Badgers started official practices on Sept. 30 and first appeared in full workouts with the team on Nov. 6.
Being away from the team practices was frustrating, Greenway said, but he tried to take the most out of it by bettering himself on and off the ice.
"It took a little time but I think I'm back where I need to be and I'll keep going forward," he said.