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Tracking the Storm

Skinner Credits Teammates for Calder Win

Wednesday, 06.22.2011 / 11:14 PM / Tracking the Storm
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Skinner Credits Teammates for Calder Win
Jeff Skinner credits his teammates for winning the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year.

For a guy who turned 19 just last month, Jeff Skinner acted his age Wednesday night for perhaps the first time this season. 

"You think about what you want to say if you win," Skinner was telling the assembled media backstage Wednesday after winning the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's outstanding rookie in 2010-11. "It was overwhelming ... Then I got a little nervous (during his acceptance speech), the audience was laughing when I was making a joke ... and I thought maybe I should have practiced my speech a little bit more."

No matter, Skinner softened the Pearl Theater crowd with his smile, having already won over thousands of teenage girls who voted on Seventeen.com for which of three John Varvatos designer suits he should wear at the NHL Awards. Scoring 31 goals and leading all rookies with 63 points boosted Skinner's profile, along with being the only first-year draftee among the three finalists -- San Jose's Logan Couture and the New York Islanders' Michael Grabner were the others.

Skinner made a point to credit his veteran teammates on the Carolina Hurricanes during his speech and media availability both for their guidance and their acceptance of a first-year pro on the final roster. Skinner played top-six forward minutes pretty much from the first game of his first NHL season. Not bad for a guy who said "I was just trying to make the team" -- words, by the way, that 20-year pro Nicklas Lidstrom used later in the night when talking to media about whether during his early career days he ever dreamed of winning seven Norris Trophies as the League's outstanding defensemen.

"The guys helped me so much to step up to their level," Skinner said of his Carolina teammates. "I learned it was important not to overthink what I was doing on the ice."

Skinner said he anticipated that the size and speed of the NHL game was going to be a challenge even after playing so well at the top junior level in Canada. Off the ice is where he learned the most, he said.

"As kids, you don't realize all of the travel that is involved during a long season," said Skinner. "You turn on the TV at 7 o'clock on a Saturday night and two teams are playing. You don't realize one of the two teams may have traveled a long way in short time to be there."

Skinner's youth likely swayed some voters who reasoned that Grabner was five years older and Couture was three years older with some 25 NHL games of experience prior to this season. His youthful charm certainly caught the attention of female fans under 21, especially during a breakout weekend as a member of the NHL All-Star Team Staal squad this past February in Raleigh.

If possible, Skinner's smile was even wider backstage, making fun of his own acceptance speech, which wasn't nearly as long or awkward as Skinner thought. The 19-year-old was stellar thanking his siblings and parents, plus his junior teammates and coaches. His demeanor turned veteran-level serious once he started discussing Carolina's prospects for next season.

"I have a ton to improve on," Skinner said. "I plan to get stronger and faster for next season. I want to help our team get better."

Spoken more like a seasoned pro rather than a teen sensation.

Author: Bob Condor | NHL.com Editor-in-Chief

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NYI 47 32 14 1 155 130 65
2 DET 48 28 11 9 144 123 65
3 TBL 49 30 15 4 158 131 64
4 MTL 46 30 13 3 126 108 63
5 PIT 48 27 13 8 143 124 62
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 NYR 45 27 14 4 135 110 58
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 45 20 15 10 111 127 50
10 TOR 49 22 23 4 143 152 48
11 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
12 PHI 49 20 22 7 134 149 47
13 CBJ 46 21 22 3 117 145 45
14 NJD 48 18 22 8 109 135 44
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 48 14 31 3 90 171 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 42 16 14 -6 30
J. Faulk 47 9 19 -13 28
E. Lindholm 47 9 11 -11 20
J. Tlusty 40 12 7 -11 19
J. Skinner 42 10 9 -7 19
R. Nash 47 7 12 -4 19
N. Gerbe 43 5 13 -3 18
V. Rask 47 6 9 -10 15
A. Sekera 45 1 14 -6 15
C. Terry 34 6 3 -3 9
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 6 8 2 .918 2.30
C. Ward 11 17 3 .911 2.45