January 3, 2012
NHL notes: Skinner skates, still not ready
By QMI Agency
Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner, the NHL's rookie of the year last season, has resumed skating.
Skinner, who's been out since Dec. 7 with a concussion, practiced with the Hurricanes Monday but was wearing a no-contact jersey. It was the first time Skinner has been on the ice with his teammates since getting hurt.
"I haven't been out there with that many bodies, that many pucks, that much noise, so I wasn't sure how I was going to react," Skinner said on the team's website. "So far, I've felt good. I've got to talk to the doctors and take the next step forward."
The Hurricanes say they still don't have a timetable for the 19-year-old's return. He's already missed 10 games.
Skinner has 12 goals and 12 assists in 30 games this season and was on pace to eclipse his totals from last year. He was the Hurricanes' leading scorer when he was put on injured reserve.
COLE GETS THREE
St. Louis Blues defenceman Ian Cole picked up the first suspension of 2012, earning a three-game ban for a hit on Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader.
Cole caught Abdelkader with a hit in the neutral zone during Saturday's game in Detroit, a hit that NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan felt targeted the head.
"Cole overshoots Abdelkader, delivering a shoulder check not square through the body but instead past the body and into his opponent's jaw," Shanahan said on the video explaining the suspension. "If Cole decides to attempt a hit while approaching at this angle, he must hit Abdelkader square through the body and avoid picking his head. While we agree with Cole's assertions that he did not intend to hit Abdelkader in the head and did not use his elbow, this is quintessential example of recklessly targeting a player's head and making it the principle point of contact."
Cole will also forfeit more than $21,000 in pay.
'HAWKS INK TWO
The Chicago Blackhawks signed first-round picks Mark McNeill and Phillip Danault to three-year, entry-level contracts Monday.
McNeill, a 6-foot-1, 211-pound forward taken 18th overall in 2011, has 18 goals and 21 assists in 37 games with the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL this season.
Danault, a 6-foot, 185-pound forward who was picked 26th, has six goals and 28 assists in 33 games with the Victoriaville Tigres of the QMJHL.
Dalls Stars defenceman Sheldon Souray, one of the league's best comeback stories this season, was put on injured reserve Monday.
The move is retroactive to Dec. 23, when Souray sprained an ankle during a game against the Nashville Predators.
Souray, thought to be done as an NHLer after spending last season in the AHL, has four goals and 12 assists in 34 games with the Stars.
Dallas called up defenceman Brenden Dillion from Texas of the AHL to take his spot on the roster.
DEVIL NHL'S TOP ROOKIE
New Jersey Devils forward Adam Henrique has been named the NHL's rookie of the month for December.
Henrique edged out Ottawa Senators defenceman Jared Cowen, Vancouver Canucks centre Cody Hodgson and Edmonton Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the award.
In 14 games last month, the 21-year-old from Brantford, Ont., had five goals and eight assists. He's second among rookie scorers on the season with 10 goals and 18 assists.
STAMKOS WEEK'S BEST
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos' hot stick led to him being named the NHL's first star of the week.
Stamkos took over the NHL goal-scoring lead by tallying six times in the last three games. He now has 26 goals on the season.
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was named second star while Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick was the third star. Ovechkin had five goals and two assists in four games while Quick went 3-0-0 with a 1.33 goals-against average.