Penn State defenseman Kevin Kerr is one of those players you can't put a price on.
He's smooth in the offensive zone, reliable in the defensive end. He can skate like a forward and move the puck like a centerman. You might say he's versatile
But for who might just be Penn State hockey's best player, Kerr has also been injured. In early February he sustained a lower body injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the year. Those stressful games against Minnesota? The blowout of Union in the first round of the NCAA Tournament?
He had to watch.
“It was a hell of a lot harder to watch it than to be in it, I think,” the junior said on Monday. “I’ve been in a lot of games like that when you’re in it, you’re so focused on what you have to do and getting the job done. When you’re in the stands you kind of feel helpless and you’re just praying. I’ve never sweated that much in my life.”
Now Kerr is sweating again, this time on the ice.
“It was unbelievable,” Kerr said of getting back to playing. “The injury (recovery) turned out to be a little bit longer than we expected, and just to finally be able to get back out there, it was a fantastic feeling to be out there with the guys you go to battle with all the time.”
The good news for Penn State, Kerr's injury allowed the Nittany Lions a chance to try out a few new faces. And in turn, the emergence of Kris Myllari has given Penn State another reliable defender to lean on this season.
Not how anyone drew it up, but a positive nevertheless.
“Obviously we’re a much better program with Kevin Kerr in the lineup,” Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky said. “One of the silver linings to that was Kris Myllari got put in a number of situations that he normally wouldn’t have, and because of that his development has been awesome.”
Fittingly, Kerr ended last weekend's series with stitches on his chin, a rough hit that put him on the ice, trainers rushing out to aid him.
"I'm fine." Kerr said with a smile.
And that's good news for Penn State.