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Skinner to return to Raleigh for examination

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Tags: Canes Now

OTTAWA -- Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner, injured Tuesday in the game against the Ottawa Senators, will return to Raleigh today for further medical examination.

The Hurricanes are to fly Wednesday to Winnipeg for a Thursday game against the Jets.

Skinner left the game and did not return after an open-ice hit from Senators defenseman Jared Cowen in the first period. It was deemed an upper-body injury.

Skinner, 20, has suffered concussions in each of the past two seasons. He missed 16 games last season after taking an open-ice hit from Andy Sutton of the Edmonton Oilers, and was out five games this season after being knocked into the boards by Mark Fraser of the Toronto Maple Leafs in a Feb. 14 game.

Skinner had scored goals in two straight games before Tuesday's game and leads the Canes with 144 shots on goal.

Cowen, 6-5 and 230 pounds, hit Skinner, listed at 5-11 and 200 pounds, in the head during the collision. He was not called for a penalty for the hit.

Canes coach Kirk Muller, asked after the game if he considered it a clean hit, said, "I think you've got a big guy coming down on a shorter guy and you catch him high, in the upper body. ... It's a tough one there, a tough one to call."

Canes forward Chad LaRose, who was playing with Skinner on Jordan Staal's line, immediately dropped the gloves and went after Cowen. It was the first of five fights in the game after the Skinner hit -- seemingly a ripple effect from Cowen targeting Skinner.

"That was huge what (LaRose) did after (Skinner) got hit," Canes defenseman Justin Faulk said. "He stepped up as any teammate would do in that situation."

Of the lack of a penalty on Cowen, Faulk said. "The refs made a call. I don't know if I necessarily agree with it. But I don't want to get too into that. That's Brendan Shanahan's job. He'll handle it if he thinks it was bad."

Shanahan, the NHL's Department of Player Safety chief, is responsible for disciplinary issues.

Canes forward Kevin Westgarth fought Cowen later in the game.

"It's terrible to see when a guy gets hit like that," Westgarth said. "It's not going to be accepted by anybody on our team."


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LaRose and Skinner

Even assuming Skinner had his head down for purposes of discussion, it's even more reason why an experienced veteran like LaRose can't stare down Skinner and lead Skinner into Cowen's path with a soft, lazy pass to the middle. Skinner was in a vulnerable position to begin with; and was going to gather the pass.

His choice was to pull up and let the pass go to the Senators or try to retrieve it. I don't see how Skinner can both keep his head up and get the pass. It's a Hobson's Choice because if Skinner lets up, he gets criticized for being a soft player; but if he goes to the puck, he's not playing smart hockey. To be certain, Skinner does need to learn better decision making about how to play his wide open throttle game while still avoiding getting crushed with hits. When he tried to adjust after his concussion the blogs were full of criticisms of Skinner.

I suggest it is a process. There will be times Skinner makes the mistakes of young players. There will be other times he's the best forward on the ice. The key is not to have veterans make the problem worse by getting Skinner smoked due to their bad judgment and misplays.

Skinner should consult with

Skinner should consult with Ronnie Francis on how to survive as a smaller skill player for 20+ years. Francis is no bigger than Skinner and managed to stay relatively injury free, even as players got bigger and faster later in his career.

As for the hit itself, the puck was there, Cowen wasn't coming on the blind side (Skinner even said he saw him coming but couldn't avoid him), and geometry took care of the rest. It's hard to find anything to cry foul over, much as I might want to. It's a contact sport. Sometimes guys get hurt and there's no evil intent at work.

Hopefully this isn't actually a concussion like we all seem to be assuming and Skinner's back on his feet soon. But I think I might hold him out as a precaution anyway with the season effectively tanked.

While I agree Skins should

While I agree Skins should talk with Ronnie, lets remember that Ron is 6'3" and played at around 205. Maybe better to talk to St. Louis who has done it for almost 20 years or a Patrick Kane who loves to play a puck possession in traffic game.

I agree with you that the hit, while aggressive, was legal under today's hockey rules. JR, who must be pissed at the prospect of losing a key asset, even said so himself today. That doesn't mean a little "hockey code justice" doesn't come into it and hence the fights. But Cowen is actually not a dirty player and no history of much fighting. He handled himself ok even though i would have liked to see Westie get in some cleaner shots.

If you look at the entire sequence Skins was going east/west with his head down and LaRose gave him the equivalent of a suicide pass. Both should know better especially with the way Ottawa plays where they have a lot of back pressure and the D likes to step up outside the blue line. You could see Cowen close into even as LaRose is in the passing motion. When 6'5' meets 5'10 its not going to be shoulder to shoulder.


Slash on Semin in front of linesman, no call, but too many men they make a call. All four officials on the ice, no call on Skinner hit. What is up with the refs?


The officiating all season long has been substandard at best. Inconsistent game in and game out. Worst is still the goaltender interference call. As we all saw in the first game against the Rangers, Lundqvist bumped, penalty on 'Canes, Peters bumped, goal scored allowed to stand, no penalty on Rangers. There have been other instances in other games as well.
Linesmen can only call the too many men as well as being involved in a delay of game call (when puck i shot over the glass).
It is quite frustrating as not only a 'Canes fan, but a hockey fan in general (one since the early 60's) seeing how games are called.
P.S. Would love to hear where Toronto thought that was a "deliberate" kicking motion by Ruutu last night. Much worse have still been ruled goals.

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About the blogger

A Raleigh native, Chip has worked at the N&O since 1979 and is the Canes beat writer. He can be reached at You can follow him on Twitter at @ice_chip.