When the University of Wisconsin men's hockey team returned to practice Thursday night after a 14-day break for exams and Christmas, it was short a few players and had one extra.

Two of the absences were planned ahead of time. Center Trent Frederic is playing for the U.S. at the World Junior Championship. Goaltender Jack Berry is the best man at the wedding of his brother on Friday.

One absence and one delay were related to travel. Captain Cameron Hughes' flight was pushed back and wasn't scheduled to arrive until well after Thursday's practice.

Defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk had a three-hour delay at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and stepped onto the ice just as the team was finishing up. He stayed on with Badgers coach Tony Granato for more than 20 minutes after the rest of the team departed.

The additional player was Oscar Skiöld, a 21-year-old forward from Stockholm, Sweden, who scored 112 points in 96 games over the last two seasons with the Jersey Hitmen of the U.S. Premier Hockey League.

Granato said Skiöld is enrolled at UW for the spring semester and is just practicing with the team — for now.

"We'll wait and see," Granato said. "He's here now. He's in school. He registered and did everything on his own to get into our school. He communicated with the program, saying he was coming in and he'd like to come out on the ice. This is a good time. We're low on bodies. So it's something we knew was going to happen."

At full strength, the Badgers already have 15 forwards, three more than typically dress for games. More details on Skiöld's future with the team are expected soon.

UW, meanwhile, is trying to get back up to speed in a hurry by planning an intrasquad scrimmage Friday night. Granato tried to organize an exhibition game against the U.S. Under-18 Team but said the logistics couldn't be worked out.

The 13th-ranked Badgers don't have enough players to make two full rosters so the game will take some breaks to allow for rest between shifts.

The main purpose, Granato said, is to get the team going at full intensity right away. UW (10-9-1, 4-5-1 Big Ten) ends its midseason break with a series at Penn State on Jan. 5-6.

"I want to snap into it fast," Granato said. "We've got a big weekend coming up, and we've got to get going. So let's not practice; let's play here. That's what (Friday) is."


Todd D. Milewski covers Wisconsin Badgers men's hockey and the UW Athletic Department for the Wisconsin State Journal.