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 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72