Bill Peters made one thing very clear when he was hired as the new head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes on June 19, 2014, and it was that players would earn their ice time.
He said he would “swing the hammer”, that hammer being ice time. Players were going to have to earn their ice time, no matter how many accolades you have or what you have achieved in the league.
People around the Hurricanes organization, beat writers, columnists, arm chair general managers, and bloggers included, have been very hard on Alexander Semin, and deservedly so.
Semin struggled under the Bill Peters system for one big reason. He failed to consistently failed to put in a 60 minutes effort. Plain and simple, he failed to show up every night and give 100%.
After innumerable benchings and healthy scratches, Alexander Semin has, seemingly, been picking it up, and he was finally rewarded with just his 2nd goal of the season on Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.
Now, we have seen this same thing happen to fan favorite Jeff Skinner, who will likely be a healthy scratch for Thursday’s game in Arizona.
Skinner has been left without a point in his last 8 games and is a -4 in that span. A -2 rating in 11:45 of ice time against the Coyotes earlier this week was the last straw for Bill Peters, who was visibly disappointed in his young “star” on Wednesday.
"“He’s an offensive player who needs to provide offense. You’ve got to provide that primary dimension as an athlete, doing what you’re paid to do. And if you’re not doing that, you’ve got to have a B-game,” Peters explained. “Right now, his B-game is not good enough to make up for the lack of offense.”"
It’s more than just the offense that is lacking from Skinner’s game, it is everything. He isn’t playing strong defense, he is cheating up ice, and he is lacking the effort that is needed to succeed in the NHL.
The concussion issue with Skinner is a glaring one. We have seen the exciting young super star in the making of 2010 turn into a beaten up, targeted, scared player that he is today. The guy just is not the same player that he was several years ago and at times last season, and it is fair to really sit back and ask if he can get back on track.
Granted, he is still just 22-years-old. There is still a whole lot of time for Skinner, but unfortunately for the Hurricanes, the organization doesn’t have a lot of time. They can’t wait around for Jeff Skinner to return to old form, if he ever does.
I have felt sympathy for Skinner in the past, and I still do, but at some point the sympathy has to run out. He has to play the brand of hockey he played in the past, despite his issue with concussions and head injuries.
So, Peters finds it appropriate to finally take him out of the lineup, and frankly this should have happened much earlier.
What does this tell us about the new brand of hockey in Carolina? Well, being a solely skill player will no longer cut it. Why do you think we have seen Eric Staal and Jordan Staal excel as of late? They have put the pieces together and have played 3-zone hockey. Why do you think Brad Malone has become a staple in the Canes’ lineup as of late? He plays hard every shift, gives up the body, defends his teammates, and can even show flashes of offense as we have seen during his 6 points in 7 games tear.
The Carolina Hurricanes have a lot of money invested in both Skinner and Semin. Skinner will get an annual salary of $6 million through the 2018-2019 season, and Semin will get $7 million per year through the 2017-2018 season.
These are some tough times in Carolina, and the lost play of Jeff Skinner is just adding on to the stress of the Canes’ front office, coaching staff, and fan base.