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Lightning vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Skinner Progressing, Skates with Team

Saturday, 02.23.2013 / 12:00 PM / 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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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 NYI 46 31 14 1 151 129 63
3 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
4 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
5 PIT 46 26 12 8 138 117 60
6 NYR 44 27 13 4 134 106 58
7 WSH 46 24 13 9 137 120 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 48 19 22 7 130 146 45
13 CBJ 45 20 22 3 113 142 43
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 46 16 25 5 98 120 37
16 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 41 15 13 -8 28
J. Faulk 46 8 18 -14 26
J. Skinner 41 10 9 -7 19
E. Lindholm 46 9 10 -10 19
R. Nash 46 7 12 -4 19
J. Tlusty 39 11 7 -12 18
N. Gerbe 42 4 13 -2 17
V. Rask 46 6 9 -9 15
A. Sekera 44 1 14 -8 15
C. Terry 33 6 3 -3 9
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 5 8 2 .916 2.32
C. Ward 11 17 3 .911 2.45