Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas  |  Last updated 12/29/11
The concussion suffered by left wing Jeff Skinner earlier this month is reason for concern in the organization. Skinner is a young second-year forward who has been savvy at avoiding big hits, for the most part. He gained Rookie of the Year honors for 2010-11 after playing in every game. He won't be rushed back to the lineup, though information on Skinner's absence has been sketchy. He's being monitored in Raleigh, N.C., and so he hasn't been isolated from the team. "For me, I get reports from day to day, coach Kirk Muller said. "I wake up every day and come in here and wait for the reports myself. Nor was Skinner on board with the team for Tuesday night's 4-2 loss at Pittsburgh. Yet without any signs that Skinner could be on the verge of returning soon, that holds the situation up to various kinds of speculation. Muller said he can't put an estimated time frame on Skinner's return, pointing out -- as would be expected -- that the decisions will be made by the team's medical staff. Certainly don't count on him back for Thursday night's home game against Toronto. NOTES The mental aspect of the Hurricanes has come under scrutiny, and it tends to be part of what's described as a fragile team. Something goes wrong and there tends to be a snowball effect. "It's not going to be the last time you're scored on, coach Kirk Muller said. "We cannot afford to make mental mistakes that cost you goals. Not only did the goal credited to G Cam Ward need further review from off-ice officials at Monday night's game against New Jersey, it sent a scramble to the record books. Ward became the 10th goalie to score a regular-season goal in NHL history. He's the first member of the Carolina franchise to do so. Then he sat out Tuesday night's game, so a chance for a goals streak for Ward will have to wait. PLAYER NOTES RW Chad LaRose is in line for more ice time on special teams as the lines and roster evolves. LaRose has been a penalty killer for parts of his career, but now there has been power-play time coming his way. RW Tuomo Ruutu has had a frustrating season at times, but he came out of the Christmas break as the co-leader on the team in goals with 12 and then added his team-leading goal in the next game and his 14th goal Tuesday. Ruutu had shared the lead with injured LW Jeff Skinner. "He earned it because of the way he has been playing, coach Kirk Muller said of Ruutu's recent scoring. RW Zac Dalpe has returned to the Hurricanes, this time on an emergency basis to fill in for injured RW Patrick Dwyer. Dalpe played in his 10th NHL game this season Tuesday night at Pittsburgh. His totals with Charlotte in the AHL showed four goals in 18 games this season. RW Patrick Dwyer (undisclosed) suffered an injury Dec. 26 against New Jersey and missed the game the next night at Pittsburgh. LW Jeff Skinner (concussion) missed his eighth consecutive game Dec. 27. He has been placed on injured reserve. D Joni Pitkanen (concussion) was injured Dec. 6 against Calgary and has missed every game since then. There's no specific time frame for his expected return. G Brian Boucher (lower body) was injured in practice Dec. 5. He has been placed on injured reserve. QUOTE TO NOTE "We're starting to find ways to win in our own building. That's something we struggled with the first couple of months. -- C Brandon Sutter. The Hurricanes have won three of their last four home games going into Thursday night's visit by Toronto. Still, the Hurricanes hold an 8-10-2 home mark.
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