Update 4:43 p.m.: The Hurricanes have confirmed that Jeff Skinner suffered a concussion on Sunday afternoon. In a statement released by the club, GM Ron Francis said that Skinner “will continue to be monitored by our team doctors and go through proper protocols in the coming days.” No indication of a timetable for Skinner's return was mentioned in the release. The original commentary follows below.
On Sunday, just a few minutes in to the final pre-season game, Jeff Skinner suffered another upper-body injury. While the details of the injury are not yet confirmed the injury resulted from an elbow to the head delivered by Matt Niskanen. Skinner was wobbly getting up and had difficulty making it to the bench. You can see the video of the hit as well as Skinner's difficulty making it back to the bench here. Given the location of the hit and Skinner's reaction after it's not far fetched to think that Jeff Skinner has yet another concussion.
With the possibility of losing Skinner to another concussion I say it's time that the Hurricanes trade Jeff Skinner.
You read that correctly. I believe it is time for the Hurricanes to trade Jeff Skinner.
The same Jeff Skinner who won the Calder Trophy with 31 goals in his rookie season. The same Jeff Skinner that scored 33 goals last year. The same Jeff Skinner who knows so many things that you just can't teach. The same Jeff Skinner who worked out all off-season, again, and came to camp looking stronger and more matured.
It is time for the relationship between Jeff Skinner and the Carolina Hurricanes to be dissolved.
The injury history can no longer be ignored. It is time to part ways.
But it is not the players fault or injury history that requires this, but a failure of the team to protect the asset and the person.
In an all too familiar series of events Jeff Skinner was hit in the head, tumbled to the ice, and no penalty was called. Bear in mind that Rule 48 specifically notes that "[a] hit resulting in contact with an opponent's head where the head is targeted and the principal point of contact is not permitted", so it's not as if the NHL officials have to judge whether it was a high stick or a cross-check. They only have to see it was a hit to the head and that the head was the target. It seems obvious to some. Perhaps the officials felt that Skinner put himself in a dangerous position and spun in to Niskanen's elbow. How Skinner could spin in to an elbow and a that player couldn't be attempting to check him in the back is beyond me, but that is hockey logic for you.
In yet another all too familiar scenario, after Skinner left the game there was no one on the Canes able to exact some physical revenge. Worse yet, a player like Skinner was on the ice without anyone in the lineup capable of serving as a deterrent to this type of play. I won't get in to the reasons why no such player is on the team. It doesn't matter if the Hurricanes can't get said type of player or won't; the result is the same. (Personally I think it's more can't than won't as JR tried to bring in some enforcers only to be spurned, but it's hard to know what RF thinks on this subject at this time). Skinner and other such skill players are left vulnerable, and as such the assets suffer damage, not to mention that the person might also be suffering long term irreparable harm, but I digress.
The fact is that Jeff Skinner is a Lamborghini, and the Canes are treating him like a used Honda Civic. They go way too long between oil changes. They drive over speed bumps that he doesn't have the clearance for messing up the under carriage. They strap car seats in the back and let the kids have sippy cups and rice puffs even though they know the kids will spill things and ruin the interior. You don't need J. Walter Weatherman to teach you that this is not the way to handle a Lamborghini.
You know what you should do if you treat an Lamborghini like that? You should sell it, use the money to buy yourself the used van that you need and take the rest and plan for the future. Maybe you contribute to your children's 529 plan or perhaps pay down some of the principal on your house so you can take advantage of today's low interest rates. What you don't do is keep running your Lamborghini in to the ground because it's shiny and others like it and end up ruining the car in three years. I don't care if you somehow won it in a police auction because other people didn't know what they were bidding on. You sell the car so you don't end up like some sad, third-act, Dirk Diggler pushing your ruined super car down a hill hoping you can pop the clutch and getting it running.
And that's just the reasons for the Canes to make the move. Jeff Skinner is 22. Let that sink in. You know what I was doing at 22? Not focusing on my career enough, not saving enough money, and drinking too much. My work ethic at 22 next to Jeff Skinner's is shameful. In the long run I'm probably going to end up better off. Sure, maybe Skinner can land that sweet Youth and Amateur Hockey Coordinator gig, but I still like my chances. At 22 one thing I didn't have was at least four concussions. I know my brain won't be scrambled. Can we say the same about Jeff Skinner?
Something has got to give sooner or later. The Hurricanes cannot keep sending Jeff Skinner out there to get injured and continue to watch an asset like that depreciate when it should be gaining value. Jeff Skinner cannot afford to keep taking head shot after head shot for a team that either can't or won't protect him. As much as it pains me to say it, this relationship is not in the best interests of either the team or the player. It is time for the Hurricanes and Jeff Skinner to part ways. Let us just hope that the Hurricanes are able to do better than an upgraded second round pick and a returning Erik Cole on this trade.