It's shaping up as a busy All-Star week for Canes rookie Jeff Skinner.
Let's see: Canes Corner appearance on Thursday, Fan Fair appearance and the NHL Fantasy Draft on Friday, the NHL SuperSkills competition Saturday and possibly playing in the All-Star Game on Sunday.
Yes, the All-Star Game. There is speculation now the league may replace any injured all-stars with rookies and put them in the big game. As the NHL's leading rookie scorer, and with the game in the RBC Center, Skinner would have to be a leading candidate as a replacement.
"I guess that would be pretty cool," Skinner said today after an off-ice workout at the RecZone. "I guess we'll see what happens. That would be crazy.
"I can remember vividly watching All-Star games as a kid. ... It's so cool, as a young kid and as a fan, seeing all those top-end players in one building. I think it's pretty special. To be a part of it, at such a young age, is pretty cool."
But first things first. The Canes Corner radio show Thursday at the Backyard Bistro has been likened to an appearance by another Canadian teenager, Justin Bieber. Skinner, 18, has quickly made a lot of fans in his rookie season, a lot of them surely being teenage girls, and the Bistro could be packed.
"I think it's a radio show, live, right?" he said. "We had something like that in junior. I'm sure it's not as big as this. Should be interesting, I guess."
As far as the SuperSkills, a smiling Skinner said he has given up on the fastest skater event, saying, "I'm not going to get much faster in the next couple of days."
He said he did ask goalie Justin Peters for some advice on shootout moves but noted, "I don't know that I have good enough hands to do some of the things he's suggesting."
But before the All-Star break there's the matter of trying to win two more games, against the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Islanders. Skinner was still smarting today from the 3-2 loss in Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Skinner mixed it up with the Pens' Chris Kunitz late in the game. He had dropped the gloves and had a ref not stepped between them, he was clearly ready to fight.
"It was some frustration and emotions," he said. "We were down 3-1 and I think the whole team was frustrated by the way the game went. You get pretty fired up, especially in the heat of the moment."