For a second there, it looked horrible.
Jeff Skinner, writhing in pain on the ice after a gruesome-looking leg injury and having to be helped off the ice by teammates and then helped down the tunnel by trainers, seemed to be in bad shape.
The 26-year-old got tangled up with newly-acquired Washington Capitals forward Carl Hagelin during the second period of Saturday’s game.
Hagelin got his stick between Skinner’s shin pads and the latter’s left skate picked into the ice, twisting his ankle in ways it should not.
Skinner was in obvious pain as soon as he hit the deck, at one point trying to push with his right leg toward the Sabres bench.
He missed the rest of the second period but remarkably, given the video you just watched, returned for the third, much to the surprise of everyone.
Skinner laughed when he told Buffalo News Sports’ Lance Lysowki that the team has good training staff. Skinner said he felt pain immediately after the play but was fine once he got to the room to test it.
“There’s a lot of things that go through your mind,” Skinner said. “At first you’re just wondering what’s wrong with it. …The tests went pretty well and I was able to come back.”
Skinner has been a godsend for the Sabres with 36 goals, just one off his career-high set two seasons ago when he was with the Carolina Hurricanes. The Sabres splashed for Skinner in the offseason and he’s been worth every penny in the final year of his six-year, $34.350 million contract.
The Sabres sit seven points back of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference and had just three wins in their past 10 games heading into Saturday.