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Clicks and Clippings: Concussions hit Carolina hard

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He'll be back. Photo by Jamie Kellner.

Since Friday last, the speculation on the nature of Jeff Skinner's undisclosed injury seemed to focus on numerous views and reviews of a hit delivered by Andy Sutton in Edmonton in the final minutes of the game there last Wednesday. [Link to video.]

Today, the Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford confirmed the team's doctors had determined that Skinner was concussed. He also had the same diagnosis to report for Joni Pitkanen, who left the game in Calgary the night prior and returned to Raleigh last week.

When interviewed on 99.9 the Fan this afternoon, Rutherford added that Jay Harrison, who has been out since Thanksgiving, was also recovering from a concussion. It's possible Harrison will be cleared to play Sunday when the team travels to Florida.

All the links from Raleigh, reaction across the League, Muller's early reviews, plus stories on the Hurricanes prospects making news around the world.

Today's news from Raleigh

"There aren't any forwards out there on the trade market that could come in here and make a difference in our team," Rutherford said. "I know first-hand because I've been on the phone for three weeks, not only looking with a potential injury, but because we're a team that's potentially short a couple forwards to be one of the good teams.

"We just have to work together as a team and work our way out of the situation we're in and deal with the present."

Almost as a footnote, the N&O's Chip Alexander tweeted that veteran back-up goaltender Brian Boucher would be out a couple months after a lower body injury that occurred at the end of practice in Calgary last Monday. Justin Peters, who cleared re-entry waivers and was recalled to Raleigh today, may be here longer than we originally thought.

Rutherford said Boucher likely out another couple of months. Said would not look to acquire another backup. "We'll stick with our guys."

Reaction to the news across the League

Looking at Muller 7 games in

21. Kirk Muller has a lot of fans. The one question, though, is: What will his system be? "We know he'll get his team to work hard," one GM said. "We know he'll have a good rapport with players. But we're not sure how his teams will play."

22. Karl Alzner said earlier this year that Eric Staal was the unluckiest player in the NHL. "Every time I see him, he's hitting the post or getting stopped by a great save." While that may be true, his low numbers were affecting his play. A few coaches/GMs saw Staal cheating offensively because he so badly wanted to score. That would explain the bad plus/minus.

Practice Notes: I made it to practice today. There were only 10 skaters and the versatile Jorge Alves served as practice goalie, giving Cam Ward the day off. Jay Harrison was one of four defensemen with Jamie McBain, Justin Faulk, and Derek Joslin . Six forwards participated: Tuomo Ruutu, Tim Brent, Drayson Bowman, Andreas Nodl, Jiri Tlusty and Anthony Stewart . Kirk Muller was not on the ice; instead, John MacLean led the drills with Rod Brind`Amour and Dave Lewis also actively contributing. The practice was really about skills, (puckhandling, passing, skating agility, etc) and not so much about full team play. Practice lasted about 45 minutes.

The unusual case for Justin Faulk

However, I spoke with a gentleman at Monday’s U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame ceremony who has a very close knowledge of this tournament and he made an awfully compelling case for Faulk to join Team USA. That got me to thinking. Could it be potentially beneficial for all parties if Faulk were released?

Future Considerations

World Juniors is getting closer. The tournament opens on December 26th with many games over the following week set to be broadcast on the NHL Network.

One surprise early this morning: Canes 2011 first round pick Ryan Murphy did not make the cut for Team Canada's WJC roster.

"I kind of look back at it and wish that I was playing like myself," Murphy said. "Maybe I didn’t have to change my game, maybe I just have to be aware of other aspects of my game."

"It’s pretty difficult," Murphy said. "Getting woken up at 6 a.m. is not the easiest thing and knowing it’s you and not your roommate is also not an easy thing. I’ll be back next year maybe and hopefully make the team then."

Like Ryan Murphy of the Kitchener Rangers. "It goes by so fast. And then you’re saying goodbye," he said. "When you get here, it’s a dream come true.

"Growing up, every Boxing Day, I sat on the couch watching the World Junior. And then you go to camp and experience this and start to think you’re pretty close and then ..." Then the phone rings. "My heart just dropped," said Murphy.

The USA Hockey camp opens this weekend, apparently waiting till most of their invites are through college exams. In addition to Justin Faulk, Canes 2010 pick Austin Levi was invited to attend.

Other talent in the pipeline

but not even in the WJC conversation

HF: What kind of contact and feedback have the Canes held/shared with you thus far? For example, have they expressed certain expectations or long term plans?

FA: I believe they technically have time until the next draft to sign me, so I can't really do anything about things on that front now and thus, I'm going to continue focusing on my game here in Frolunda. If I were to think too much about it, I probably wouldn't be able to play well here.

This and that