As grim as the injury situation has been as of late for the Carolina Hurricanes, a bit of good news is on the horizon.
Jeff Skinner, who has been sidelined with a concussion since Oct. 5, shed his yellow, non-contact jersey for the team’s Wednesday practice.
“It’s all positive steps. I’ll talk to the doctor again today after this and go from there, but I’m moving in the right direction,” he said. “I feel good. It’s a bit of an adjustment coming back … but it’s gone smoothly so far.”
Skinner will travel with the Canes to New York, but a decision on his status for Thursday night’s game against the Rangers is still pending.
“I think he’s real close,” head coach Bill Peters said. “He’ll skate with us again tomorrow, and then we can make a decision.”
“I always want to play, but it’s up to the doctor and what’s best for the team and for me,” Skinner said.
Early on in the Canes’ final preseason game in Washington, Skinner absorbed a high and questionable hit from Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen. Skinner stumbled to his feet and was wobbly as he skated off the ice. The play was not penalized and went unpunished, and the Canes’ 22-year-old star forward was diagnosed with the third concussion of his still young NHL career.
“It’s a bit of a tough bounce,” Skinner said of suffering the injury during the preseason. “It happens. You just have to try to way to deal with it. For me, I was fortunate that it didn’t really linger. It cleared up pretty quickly here, and hopefully I’ll be back soon.”
Having worked his way back onto the ice from concussions twice already, Skinner is mindful of how to protect himself; sometimes, though, these things just happen.
“For me personally, I think I’ve done a better job over the last couple of years of being aware of certain situations that you don’t want to get yourself into,” he said. “It’s a tough play. Hindsight, I probably wouldn’t have spun and shot it. But sometimes that happens in the game, and the D-man holds the front of the net and tries to block the shot.
“You want to avoid them as best you can,” he continued. “But it’s a physical sport, and guys get hit. Injuries happen, and you have to try to bounce back.”