RALEIGH, N.C. – Following practice on Friday, Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner said he was closer to skating at game pace and tempo.
Not having played a regular-season game yet, the team’s leading goal scorer from last season was recently removed from injured reserve while recovering from a concussion he suffered against the Washington Capitals in Carolina’s final preseason game back on Oct. 5.
“I felt good,” Skinner said.
“You take off the week, or two weeks, there’s gonna’ be a little bit of adjustment coming back.”
Though not rushing back, Skinner’s clearance to skate regularly with the team has been realized sooner than many may have thought, particularly when viewing the contact to his head that he took from Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen.
After being concussed for the third time in as many years, Skinner went through the same protocols and steps he had previously followed in order to get him back on the ice again so quickly.
“It’s been the same,” Skinner continued when speaking of his recovery.
“Obviously, (in terms of) severity, they differ. I think we have a pretty good protocol here, really good, sort of cover all the steps. The doctors do a great job of lettin’ you know where you’re at. At the same time, it’s a little bit tough to judge because they are so unpredictable. As far as the rehab, they’ve done a great job covering all the angles we can. Then, working my way back into it, I think you check off things off the checklist in coming back by yourself, and then skatin’ non-contact, and then skatin’ in a normal practice. I feel good so far.”
In light of the Hurricanes current personnel situation that also has Eric Staal, Patrick Dwyer, Nathan Gerbe, Andrej Sekera, and John-Michael Liles dealing with various injuries and related recovery, Skinner offered a perspective on what that time away from practicing and playing regularly provides to a player.
“For me, anytime you get time off when you’re injured, you have a chance to watch the game from a different perspective and you get a chance to reassess what you do in different situations,” Skinner said.
“I think that’s always your mindset if injuries happen – you always look to improve and learn from them. At the same time, knowin’ that my rehab from this one’s gone smoothly, it gives you a little bit of confidence and you’re back out there to get back at it.”
With his team still looking for its first win, the young forward doesn’t think it’s time to panic any time soon and thinks the approach that his coach is taking is one that can bode well for the team at this point in the year.
“It’s still early in the season,” Skinner said.
“We wanna’ keep buildin’ our game, and keep gettin’ better every day. From what I’ve seen, for the practices I have been out there (for), they’ve been up-tempo, they’ve been positive. We’ve been workin’ on things we wanna’ get better on. I think the guys have played well the last couple of games. We lose in a shootout – you’re right in it until the end. I think we just keep workin’ keep buildin’ on the good things in our game, and we’ll be fine.”