Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Canes' Skinner is better than advertised

Jeff Skinner is better than advertised, and it won’t be long before he’s mentioned with Eric Staal and Cam Ward as the cornerstone players of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Tuesday night was just another example of the impact he is having. Edmonton brought Taylor Hall, the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft, to the RBC Center, but Hall had no impact in his 8 minutes and 47 seconds of play.

Skinner was enormous. He took a pass from Staal and made a beautiful feed to Erik Cole on a power play goal that put Carolina up 2-0. He finished with a goal and two assists in a 7-1 Canes win that seemed effortless.

Skinner handles the puck skillfully and his ability to pass is extraordinary. Carolina has 48 goals, the second-highest total in the NHL, and those goals are a product of some exceptional passing. Now, Edmonton’s defense lacked a physical element Tuesday, and the Canes often had free reign around the net, but when you watch the Canes, you see a quick, explosive team with some young legs and real grit.

For this team to be where it is after that nasty opening stretch is impressive, and Skinner is a big reason. Canes fans already have caught the wave, with many signs around arena sporting his name and plenty of Skinner jerseys available for sale.

This is no fluke. Skinner is not overly big or even fast, but he has a magical touch with his stick that is making a difference for Carolina.

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