The Detroit Red Wings have had a few underachievers on their team this season, but no one has been more disappointing than Mikael Samuelsson. Detroit has a lengthy injured reserve at the moment, but the 36-yea-old forward seems to have finally worn out his welcome with the Red Wings.
When they took on the Calgary Flames on the Calgary Flames last Thursday, head coach Mike Babcock made Samuelsson a healthy scratch once again. Jordin Tootoo was recalled and inserted into the lineup in his place.
Samuelsson spoke to Ansar Khan of MLive.com about sitting in the press box despite being healthy, and had this to say:
It’s extremely disappointing. It’s out of my hands. I’m disappointed I can’t be in the lineup. It’s a matter of ice time, it’s a matter of confidence right now; that’s what I need most of all. You can say you got to skate faster and battle harder, absolutely. I haven’t played my best hockey. It has its reasons, too, but I don’t want to comment on that. I just have to take it one day at a time.
Head coach Mike Babcock spoke about the importance of competing for a roster spot as well:
I had 17 forwards on the ice (for practice); the biggest crop I’ve ever had since I’ve been here by far. To be a real good team you need competition for jobs and then you got to get guys to embrace the internal competition that makes you a better player.
To that end, Samuelsson has made the choice to bench him a relatively easy one. Through 21 games, he’s scored one goal and added two assists. He hasn’t lit the lamp since October 2 and has two seven-game pointless streaks this season.