That Jared Cowen of the Ottawa Senators hit Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner in the head is indisputable.

The frame-by-frame replays of Cowen’s open-ice hit in Tuesday’s game in Ottawa show the Sens defenseman leading with his right shoulder on the collision with Skinner, knocking Skinner’s head back.

No penalty was called on Cowen for the hit. Nor was any disciplinary action taken Wednesday by the NHL.

But Skinner is out of the Canes’ lineup, at least for one game and maybe longer. He returned to Raleigh on Wednesday morning for further examination and medical evaluation.

General manager Jim Rutherford said Wednesday he is hopeful Skinner, who has suffered concussions in each of the past two seasons, was not concussed from the Cowen hit. As of Wednesday night he had not received an update

Rutherford said he went to the Canes’ locker room to check on Skinner, noting, "I don’t know enough to comment on anything other than when I talked to Jeff he seemed to be doing fine.”

Rutherford did not question the legality of Cowen’s hit, which came about 13 minutes into the first period. Skinner left the ice on his own power.

"It’s an open-ice hit in the neutral zone," Rutherford said. "No one likes to see it happen to their own player but it’s classified as a legal hit in our sport."

Rutherford said he did not believe Cowen’s intent was to injure Skinner, saying, "It’s a bigger guy and taller player hitting another player, and the leverage of (Cowen) hitting him and knocking him down makes the hit look bigger."

Cowen is 6 feet 5 and 235 pounds and knows how to deliver a blow. Skinner is listed at 5-11 and 200 pounds.

Skinner, 20, missed 16 games last season with a concussion after taking an open-ice hit from Andy Sutton of the Edmonton Oilers. He was out five games this season after being knocked into the boards by Mark Fraser of the Toronto Maple Leafs in a Feb. 14 game at PNC Arena.

"I’m always concerned when players get hurt, especially younger players," Rutherford said. “That’s part of the adjustment to playing in this league – playing with men. But as long as we handle these concussion situations properly and don’t hurry the player back, the top doctors who specialize in this suggest that just because you had one concussion doesn’t necessarily mean it leads to another.

"I do think when players get hurt at this age, more than one time, that there has to be an adjustment to their game. That’s part of what Jeff’s gone through here in the second half (of the season), in trying to adjust his game and not put himself in vulnerable positions. But with the speed of the game, at some point in time all players are going to be vulnerable, and that was one of those cases (Tuesday) night."