First it was Alex Semin, then Elias Lindholm.
Now… Jeff Skinner?
The 22-year-old might be parked as a healthy scratch tomorrow when the ‘Canes take on the Coyotes in Arizona. Head coach Bill Peters — who, upon taking the ‘Canes job, said “I have the ultimate hammer as the coach, and the hammer is the ice time,” — had Skinner rotating in and out of Wednesday’s line rushes, and delivered a not-so-subtle message afterward.
“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, per the ‘Canes website. “Right now, his B-game is not good enough to make up for the lack of offense.”
The former Calder winner has had a rough go the last few games, going eight straight without a goal (while posting a minus-5 rating). Tuesday night in Anaheim, with the Canes up one and on a 5-on-3 power play, Skinner was whistled for an offensive-zone tripping penalty.
Peters hasn’t been afraid to send messages this season via the healthy scratch. Semin’s been parked in the press box on numerous occasions and, over the weekend, Lindholm was scratched for a game against the Rangers in New York.
Now, it could be Skinner’s turn.
“I talk about competitive people being in a competitive environment and we want to win,” Peters said in late January after dropping Semin from the lineup, per the Raleigh News & Observer. “We are playing our best 20 players in order to win hockey (games).
“That’s the lineup. It’s not hard.”
Peters has been no-nonsense since Day 1 in Carolina and this latest instance with Skinner — and center Riley Nash, who was skating as a d-man with John-Michael Liles today — shows that he’s not afraid to discipline those that don’t fall in line.
And to be fair, the approach seems to have paid off. After a terrible start to the year, Carolina is 7-3-3 in its last 13 and gave Anaheim all it could handle last night at the Honda Center, losing 5-4 in OT after blowing a two-goal third period lead.