DETROIT — After playing 13 games in a row, Mikael Samuelsson has found himself watching in street clothes in six of the last eight games.
“It’s extremely disappointing,” Samuelsson said. “It’s out of my hands. I’m disappointed I can’t be in the lineup.”
Samuelsson, who’s played in 21 games this season, has one goal and three assists. He’s also a minus-5.
“Score more,” Samuelsson said when asked what he needs to do to get back in the lineup. “It all goes hand-in-hand. It’s a matter of ice time, it’s a matter of confidence right now. That’s what I need most of all.”
The team even recalled Jordin Tootoo and inserted him into the lineup for two games, while Samuelsson, who’s averaging just under 10 minutes and 30 seconds of ice time a game, sat.
“You can say you’ve got to skate faster and battle harder, absolutely,” Samuelsson said. “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.”
Samuelsson, who’s in the final year of a two-year deal that pays him $3 million a season, was injured nearly the entire 2012-13 lockout-shortened season.
“When you’re 35 and you’re sort of in the lineup, out of the lineup and when you do play, you don’t play a lot of minutes, the natural thing to happen is you lose your confidence and start to play a game that isn’t how you got here in the first place,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “He’s a guy we brought back because he plays puck possession and we thought he could play the right point on the power play and chip in 15-20 goals. Last year he was hurt (basically) the entire year. In the meantime we signed Daniel Alfredsson, (Stephen) Weiss and (Tomas) Tatar is an NHL. We’re deeper, we have more NHL forward that last year so there’s more competition.”