When it comes to the Carolina Hurricanes‘ offense, there’s only one player that warrants discussion in terms of excellence: Jeff Skinner. With 16 goals in 16 games, Skinner has become the preeminent scorer in the NHL, and rightfully so. He has taken the Hurricanes’ offensive woes into his own hands and has been playing with his hair on fire.
Not only has this been a boost for his own stats and handy when he does it in the clutch, but he has brought other players with him. Suddenly, guys like Alexander Semin and Jordan Staal have woken up and made their own runs.
On top of this, it’s rare that any writer or broadcaster mentions the Hurricanes’ younger corps of players — of which they have many — without using the descriptor “elder statesman” to describe Skinner. Having broken into the league at a very young age, Skinner made a huge splash with his all-star bid and Calder Trophy rookie season.
This is major key for him as a leader, since he had an absolute baptism by fire at a young age and handled it like he had been there before. There is nothing about Skinner that should not be emulated by the younger players.
Why is it then that Skinner is not wearing the “A” of an alternate captain? Eric Staal wears the captain’s “C” and that is absolutely the way to go. His kid brother Jordan Staal wears the first “A”, and for some reason Manny Malhotra has one. By no means is this a slight against Malhotra, who has taken his fair share of knocks in the media; however, it is questionable that he is wearing an “A” after only a handful of games in a Carolina sweater.
It could seem like a petty issue, but it’s certainly anything but. Skinner’s presence is invaluable to the team, but he is more than a goal scorer. Placing the “A” on his jersey will show the commitment to the future that GM and current village idiot Jim Rutherford has been trying to show with his horrible decisions. He is already a leader on and off the ice, and this would be an outward sign that Skinner is in fact the future of the Hurricanes.