RALEIGH — Jeff Skinner, All-Star?
Skinner, the Carolina Hurricanes' star rookie, already was looking forward to this week's NHL All-Star Weekend. Skinner was one of 12 rookies selected to participate in the Honda NHL SuperSkills competition Saturday at the RBC Center.
Now, there is speculation that if some of the 42 players selected for Sunday's NHL All-Star Game are injured and unable to play, some of the rookies could be chosen as replacements.
Skinner, 18, is the league's leading rookie scorer and would be a leading candidate to make it into the big game at the RBC Center.
"I guess that would be pretty cool," Skinner said Sunday. "I guess we'll see what happens. That would be crazy.
"I can remember vividly watching All-Star Games as a kid. ... It's so cool, as a young kid and as a fan, seeing all those top-end players in one building. I think it's pretty special. To be a part of it, at such a young age, is pretty cool."
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Sunday that Sidney Crosby, the leading vote-getter for the All-Star Game, would not play because of post-concussion symptoms. The newspaper, citing unidentified sources, also reported the Penguins' Evgeni Malkin also was unlikely to play because of a sore knee and a sinus infection.
Skinner, the youngest player in the league, had 39 points (17 goals, 22 assists) after Saturday's games for a seven-point lead over San Jose Sharks rookie Logan Couture. Skinner was the Canes' first-round pick, and the seventh overall selection, in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and has played in all 48 games.
The league has made no official announcement about All-Star replacements. For now, Skinner's All-Star Weekend duties include an appearance at the NHL Fan Fair and NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft on Friday, then in the SuperSkills events the next day.
Skinner said his father, Andrew, would be coming from Markham, Ontario, for the weekend. Who knows, father could be watching son in his first NHL All-Star Game.