Both Ottawa and Carolina could be struggling for offense this week after both teams announced that one of their top performers had been diagnosed with a concussion.
The Hurricanes confirmed Wednesday that 2011 Calder Trophy-winner Jeff Skinner, who has missed the past two games after taking a hard hit from Edmonton defenseman Andy Sutton last week, has a concussion with no timetable set for his return. Skinner's loss is a particularly large blow for Carolina, as the second-year forward has continued to perform in his sophomore season, leading the team with 12 goals and 12 assists in 30 games.
"We just follow whatever the doctor tells us," Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford said Wednesday. "You can't project when a player would return."
If any GM can empathize with Rutherford Wednesday, it's Ottawa's Bryan Murray. The Senators announced Milan Michalek, whose 19 goals are the most in the NHL, is suffering from a concussion after an accidental collision with teammate Erik Karlsson during Tuesday night's game in Buffalo.
Michalek is considered day-to-day.
"Right now we have to follow the concussion protocol, so he's day-to-day," Senators coach Paul MacLean said. "It's based on as long as he's symptom-free, he can participate. He felt way better today, so we'll see how it goes."
Michalek and Skinner are the latest high-profile players to have been diagnosed with concussions, such as Philadelphia's Claude Giroux and Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby. Philadelphia's Chris Pronger has been diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms. Michalek is currently on pace to shatter his career high of 26 goals in 2006-07, while Skinner, whose teammate Joni Pitkanen has also been diagnosed with a concussion, had been on pace to beat the 63 points he tallied in his rookie campaign last season.
I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.
— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic