When John Shouneyia stepped off the ice holding his right wrist in the second period of Michigan’s exhibition game against Toronto, many wondered if the senior alternate captain would return the next period.

Paul Wong
For the second year in a row, Michigan will have to play a significant number of games without its top center. Last year, Mike Cammalleri missed much of the second half of the regular season with mono.

Yesterday, the team announced that he might not be back until December.

Michigan coach Red Berenson confirmed that the senior’s wrist was fractured on Saturday and that he will have surgery tomorrow morning to repair the broken wrist.

According to Berenson, the surgery will involve a pin being placed into the junior center’s wrist. Michigan’s top returning scorer is expected to be out four to eight weeks. The injury occurred on a clean play, when Shouneyia jammed his wrist while getting hit on a shot.

“It’s not an uncommon injury, but it’s still serious,” Berenson said.

Shouneyia was seen yesterday in the stands with his sweatshirt sleeve covering the wrist and hand entirely. He didn’t mention surgery when asked about the injury, but he did say he would be meeting with the doctors tomorrow.

In his absence, Michigan will again need to find new people to play larger roles. The Wolverines just were starting to figure out who would fill the holes left by the early-departures of Mike Cammalleri and Mike Komisarek when Shouneyia went down.

“The good thing is we have some depth and we have some players who can play different positions,” Berenson said. “Because of the way (Andrew) Ebbett and (David) Moss are playing at center – (Milan) Gajic is playing pretty well – we can move Dwight Helminen back at center. Even though it gives us three sophomores and a freshman at center, I still like our centers. We’re not going to be the same without Johnny, but we can still put a pretty good lineup on the ice.”

This may turn out to be a blessing for some individuals, as it will mean more ice time and new line placement for several Wolverines. This is especially true for Gajic, who could establish himself as the team’s most exciting player to watch in Shouneyia’s absence.

Gajic has already been tested and has proven that he can handle being on a top line. The sophomore had three goals in the two exhibition games this past weekend while being teamed up with senior captain Jed Ortmeyer.

Gajic “is one of our top centermen,” Berenson said. “At least right now we’ve put him in that situation to see whether he could handle playing with Ortmeyer. That puts him in a big role on a big line.”

Although his leadership as a captain will be missed over the first portion of the season, Shouneyia is confident that the Wolverines will be able to stay just as strong without him.

“The character on this team is really phenomenal,” Shouneyia said. “The guys, no question about it, are going to come together whether I miss one game, or two or three. They’ll pick up the slack. There’s plenty of guys who can fill a role and they’ll do just fine.”

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