Canes' Skinner, Pitkanen out with concussions

Posted December 14, 2011

— The slumping Carolina Hurricanes say leading scorer Jeff Skinner and key defenseman Joni Pitkanen are out indefinitely with concussions.

General manager Jim Rutherford updated the players' status in a statement issued roughly an hour after the end of Wednesday's practice.

“There’s no such hit that looks like it should cause a concussion,” Rutherford said. “Skinner got hit late in the game in Edmonton. We had a light off-ice workout the next day. According to Peter Friesen (head athletic trainer), he seemed to be fine. The next day getting on the ice with a different type of workout he didn’t feel good after. When a player is like that, you’re never sure exactly what’s wrong with the player, but based on these hits to the head, we are very cautious with them.”

The 19-year-old Skinner leads the team with 12 goals and 24 points and is the NHL's reigning rookie of the year.

He was hit at Edmonton on Dec. 7 and was scratched two nights later at Winnipeg with flu-like symptoms. He was held out of Tuesday night's loss at Toronto after the ailment was recharacterized as an undisclosed injury.

"You can say day-to-day but it’s certainly going to be longer than a couple days," Rutherford said. "Nobody can project how long it’s going to be including the doctors that deal with these things on a regular basis."

Pitkanen leads the Hurricanes' defensemen with 12 points and nine assists.

Jay Harrison, who had missed some time with simliar concussion-like symptoms has been cleared to play and will skate against Vancouver Thursday according to Rutherford.

The diagnoses are the latest blows to a team that has dropped into last in the Eastern Conference. The team has begun shaking things up by replacing head coach Paul Maurice with Kirk Muller, who brought aboard John MacLean as an assistant. They also traded an underachieving Tomas Kaberle to Montreal for veteran Jaroslav Spacek. Rutherford said more mover will be taking place in the future to try and salvage the season.

"We need to add a couple real good forwards in some point in time," Rutherford said. "We’ve looked into the trade market over the last three weeks or so and there’s not really anything there at this point in time. At some point between now and the near future, by the end of the season or in free agency, we’re going to have to address that… Right now our team is a little thin and we’re struggling to win games."

The Canes will play Thursday night at home against Vancouver.



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  • chuck2 Dec 15, 2011

    View quoted thread

    The NFL has gone to great measures to stop hits on specialty players, especially helmet to helmet hits on the QB. Why can't the NHL crack down hard on players who hit the ice with only one thing on their mind and that is to end the careers of a Skinner, Crosby, etc.

  • caniacman Dec 15, 2011

    You can not take the hard hits out of the game. Legal body checking is part of the play. I think the penalties this year have been much harsher on head shots. That is what needs to be taken out of the game. Now if you want to take out fighting for those unneccessary head hits, I would listen to that now, BUT then the officials have to do a better job policing the game because a lot of fights are ways to police when a player does something wrong.

  • mike28 Dec 15, 2011

    It would be just like the Canes to put together a winning streak and then miss the playoffs by a few points. The only thing that would accomplish is a much lower draft pick. I would rather see this team trade a few players like Ruutu, Jokinen, Pitkanen, etc and get some good young talent and draft picks. The core of this team is still young (Staal, Ward, Skinner, etc), so a #1 or #2 pick that lands a goal scoring forward or center would be great. The Canes addressed the future of the D last draft by getting Murphy and Faulk. If they can snag a couple of goal scoring forwards in next years draft it would bode well for the future.

    There may be 50 or so games left, but this season is over. Time to build for the future. True fans understand that and will still support this team...

  • wcomdave Dec 15, 2011

    Check your calendar people, there are 50 games left to play this year. If the Canes start playing "exhibition hockey" now you'll be looking at a practically vacant RBC center come late March. Get with it Canes! Even Jim Rutherford is starting to sound like a whiny baby. So we have injuries, so does every team in the league. We're not special. Who is really ready to take a leadership position on this team and show some fight?

  • aschmidt11 Dec 15, 2011

    Start looking at draft picks.

  • mike28 Dec 15, 2011

    So, the train wreck season continues. Concussions are a terrible thing because you could be out for a few games or many months (like Crosby). Not sure what the league can do about it, but they better figure something out. Too many goons are taking runs at the star players. The NHL cannot afford to have their star players not playing. Nobody pays to watch a goon play...

  • jscott13 Dec 14, 2011

    jr8fan...I don't know what you define as a man's sport...but most of the toughest guys I know are Canes players and they all want to ban the ones who hurt people on purpose. Of course, they are all very intelligent, unlike Sutton and his fans...that means you!

  • backnblack1969 Dec 14, 2011

    View quoted thread


  • Jakethesnake Dec 14, 2011

    Hockey sux! Bowl more often dood. Or something--backnblack1949

    you get no respect if you can't at least spell the word dude. cmon, everyone knows how to spell dude. bowlings for little girls.

  • Jakethesnake Dec 14, 2011

    View quoted thread

    seriously, Staal to foward? He has not changed positions his whole career, he has always been a foward.




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