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Skinner Credits Teammates for Calder Win

Wednesday, 06.22.2011 / 11:14 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
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Skinner Credits Teammates for Calder Win

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 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 55 32 17 6 153 127 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
5 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 CAR 55 24 21 10 131 143 58
11 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
12 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
15 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 54 15 19 -13 34
J. Skinner 55 19 12 -3 31
V. Rask 53 12 19 0 31
J. Staal 55 12 19 7 31
K. Versteeg 54 10 21 1 31
E. Staal 55 9 21 1 30
E. Lindholm 55 8 16 -9 24
A. Nestrasil 48 8 12 0 20
J. Nordstrom 44 5 10 2 15
R. Hainsey 55 3 11 -12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 7 .909 2.34
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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