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Blues 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 50 31 15 4 163 132 66
2 MTL 47 31 13 3 127 108 65
3 NYI 48 32 15 1 157 135 65
4 DET 49 28 12 9 145 128 65
5 PIT 48 27 13 8 143 124 62
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 BOS 49 26 16 7 131 123 59
8 NYR 46 27 15 4 135 111 58
9 FLA 46 21 15 10 114 129 52
10 PHI 50 21 22 7 139 151 49
11 TOR 50 22 24 4 144 155 48
12 OTT 47 19 19 9 129 134 47
13 CBJ 47 21 23 3 119 148 45
14 NJD 48 18 22 8 109 135 44
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 49 14 32 3 92 174 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