Devils vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Skinner Progressing, Skates with Team

Saturday, 02.23.2013 / 12:00 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Skinner Progressing, Skates with Team
Outfitted in a yellow, non-contact jersey, Jeff Skinner skated with the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.

Michael Smith
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It was the third day in a row that the 20-year-old forward was on the ice. On Wednesday, the organization announced that Skinner had a concussion. The next morning, he put in a light skate, no more than 15 minutes in length. Friday, he skated with assistant coach John MacLean before ramping up the intensity today with the team.

So, how does he feel?

“Better,” said a smiling Skinner. “A lot better. It’s good to get out there.”

Late in the second period against Toronto on Feb. 14, Skinner corralled the puck and raced off on a three-on-one rush with Jordan Staal and Jay Harrison to his left. Stickhandling, he lost the puck in the right circle. He turned to regain control when Mark Fraser bulldozed him, sending him crashing into the boards.

“It was a clean hit. I just went into the wall a little funny,” he said. “You can’t change [how you play], really. It’s a fast game, and guys are going to run into you.”

Initially, Skinner said, it was his neck that was bothering him.

“You get a lot of bruises in the game,” he said. “It’s tough really to tell.”

He woke up the next morning feeling a little “off.”

“Again, sort of one of those things where maybe I have a head cold,” he said. “It’s a gray area.”

He practiced with the team that afternoon, again feeling a little “off” afterward, but nothing too severe. He participated in the Skate with the Canes event that night and rested on Saturday, an off day. When he came in for practice on Sunday morning, he consulted with the doctor, got tested and remained off the ice for four days.

Having gone through a similar experience last season – which caused the then-sophomore forward to miss 16 games – helped Skinner to get a better handle on his state.

But, that didn’t make it any less concerning or frustrating.

“It’s scary. It’s kind of frustrating. I think that’s the biggest emotion going through,” he said. “It’s definitely easier knowing what to expect and what not to expect.

“You sort of know the feeling, he continued. “In some ways, it makes you more aware. You can say, ‘Yeah, I felt like this last year. That puts your mind at ease. Going through it last year taught me a lot. It’s not nice to have gone through it, but it’s nice to have that experience to draw off of.”

Head coach Kirk Muller said Skinner, the team’s second leading scorer with 14 points (7g, 7a), remains day-to-day. With a packed schedule ahead and limited practice time, Skinner was unsure when he’d be able to work his way back into contact.

But for now, he’s taking it one day at a time.

“The next step is to see how I feel and respond to this skate,” he said. “It’s good that things are going in the right direction.”



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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 73 47 19 7 224 168 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
4 NYI 75 44 26 5 228 208 93
5 PIT 74 40 23 11 204 186 91
6 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
7 WSH 74 40 24 10 215 182 90
8 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
9 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 CBJ 74 35 35 4 203 230 74
13 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 68 20 27 -13 47
J. Faulk 73 14 32 -18 46
E. Lindholm 72 16 20 -21 36
J. Skinner 68 18 12 -22 30
V. Rask 71 11 19 -12 30
R. Nash 67 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 69 7 17 -13 24
J. McClement 73 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 45 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 37 4 15 -9 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 19 21 5 .910 2.43
A. Khudobin 8 15 5 .903 2.62