Skinner back after another busy summer

Staff writerSeptember 13, 2011 

The Canes' Jeff Skinner was on the ice Tuesday at the RBC Center, laughing, shooting the puck, smiling, stickhanding, being with the guys.

It has been a busy summer for Skinner. He went to Las Vegas for the NHL Awards ceremony in June, picking up the Calder Trophy. He has had numerous interview requests and made some appearances, including the All-Canadian Mentorship Camp. He again worked out with Gary Roberts and was at the BioSteel Sports Camp in Toronto in late August.

"It was a little bit more busy, but it was busy last year going through the (NHL) draft, then the rookie camp in Traverse City," Skinner said. "It was pretty busy but there was enough time for me to sort of relax and then to kind of gear up for the season again."

Skinner, who turned 19 in May, was one of the last to arrive for the players' informal workouts leading up to training camp. He spent part of last week in New York for the annual NHL player media tour, making the rounds for interviews, seeing a Broadway show, taking in some sights in the city.

"It was a fun experience," he said. "It's quite the city. You kind of miss out a little when you're there to play a road game."

As for expectations this season, Skinner isn't setting any numbers for himself. You won't hear him talking about trying to score, say, 40 goals. That, he said, might only sidetrack from what he really wants to do: make it to the playoffs and experience that for the first time.

"Obviously we missed by one (victory) last year," he said. "That's not a good feeling and I think everyone will use that as motivation. We'll come back and hopefully be in the mix this year."

Skinner will no longer be the 18-year-old rookie in the room, meaning he no longer has to generally be seen but not heard. Not that he intends to suddenly emerge as one of the louder voices on the team.

"I think I'll still be kind of quiet," he said, smiling. "I'm not a loud guy. I will be a little more comfortable, so I won't be too nervous to sort of speak when guys ask me questions. Hopefully, I'll be a little more talkative."

chip.alexander@newsobserver.com

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