. -- While much of the attention at the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game focused on the big three players available for the 2010 Entry Draft, there was room for someone else to steal a bit of the spotlight.
That's just what Jeff Skinner
was able to do, taking a bit of the attention from the Taylor Hall-Tyler Seguin-Cam Fowler trio for himself.
After winning the Showdown Breakaway Challenge in Tuesday's skills contest with a few sweet moves, he had a goal and an assist for Team Orr in Wednesday's 4-2 loss to Team Cherry.
Not that Skinner is looking for any extra attention.
"There's lots of guys out to prove to the scouts they deserve to be a bit higher than they are, and they belong out there with the top prospects," Skinner said. "I don't mind stepping back from the spotlight. As long as I'm helping my team win, that's the goal."
His league-best 35 goals (in just 44 games) has helped the Kitchener Rangers climb to second in the OHL Midwest Division, just two points behind perennial title contender the London Knights.
His strong season actually started this summer, at the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka
Tournament, when he led Canada with 6 goals in just four games.
"I think it was a great experience," Skinner told NHL.com. "First of all to make the team was a huge honor. Whenever you get a chance to represent your country, that's pretty special. I'm pretty fortunate to have had a good tournament."
It's not that much of a surprise the 5-foot-10, 197-pound right wing is scoring so proficiently. He was fourth among rookie goal-scorers in the OHL last season with 27 goals.
"When you look back at the numbers at the end of the season, that's when you can be surprised or be proud of your numbers. I'm just taking it a game at a time, that's where I am right now. Just worried about the next game and the next shift, that's what my focus is on."
-- Jeff Skinner
Skinner is No. 47 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm rankings of North American skaters, but he said he doesn't pay a lot of attention to any kind of numbers attached to his name.
"I don't focus on the numbers, I just go out and work hard," he said. "When you look back at the numbers at the end of the season, that's when you can be surprised or be proud of your numbers. I'm just taking it a game at a time, that's where I am right now. Just worried about the next game and the next shift, that's what my focus is on."
But come on -- it must be a little cool to see your name atop a list that includes Hall and Seguin, as well as NHL prospects like Adam Henrique
, Jeremy Morin
and Greg Nemisz
"It's definitely cool when your teammates are telling you that, chirping you a little bit about it," admitted Skinner. "You just want to try to keep rolling. Everyone's gunning for the guy on top. As long as I'm helping my team win, that's the most important thing."
Contact Adam Kimelman at email@example.com