Canes' Skinner, Pitkanen out with concussions
Posted December 14, 2011
RALEIGH, N.C. — 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.