DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings’ $5 million dollar man had another one of those less than $5 million dollar performance seasons.
And a lot of his performance issues are due to how things went his first season with the Wings since signing a hefty five-year deal worth $24.5 million.
Stephen Weiss, 32, tried to play through a sports hernia, which he started to feel the effects of during training camp, that first year. He wound up having sports hernia surgery and then had a second procedure later to repair an issue with scar tissue.
“What I had in mind last year was tough going through those injuries and it kind of hurt me this year,” Weiss said during the Wings’ locker room cleanup Friday at Joe Louis Arena. “Didn’t get in the lineup right away and I was still going through a bit of issues when I did get in the lineup. That took some time. I felt like I played really well when I got back and then for whatever reason fell down the lineup and just couldn’t recover.”
In the first season in Detroit, Weiss managed to play just 26 games totaling two goals, two assists and a minus-4.
“Looking back on it I should have taken time right away instead of playing through it,” Weiss said. “When I decided to play through it that wound up costing me.”
He played in 52 games regular season games this year and finished with nine goals and 16 assists.
Weiss appeared in the first two playoff games against Tampa Bay before finding himself benched the rest of the series.
“I’ve been around long enough, it was frustrating,” Weiss said. “You always want to do more. You feel like you can do more. I felt that way. I wanted to be in there, especially in the playoffs playing and have a bigger role, but it wasn’t to be.”
In all, he’s appeared in just 78 of a possible 164 regular season games since signing with the Wings.
After beginning this year as a healthy scratch, Weiss seemed to ignite the offense when he got in after a brief conditioning stint in Grand Rapids.
He had two goals in his first game back and had another goal in his next game.
In a seven-game stretch, Weiss had four goals and six assists. He had just five goals and 10 assists over the next 44 games as he slipped further and further down the lineup.
“At this point I’m just trying to get stronger and stay healthy over the summer and hopefully find a way to get a bigger role,” said Weiss, who missed the final 26 games of the 2012-13 season with Florida due to a wrist injury. “That would be nice. I feel like I can do a lot more. We’ll see.
“I think the way things ended last year when I came back when the season started I wasn’t in the lineup, I was a healthy scratch, sat around for a while,” Weiss continued. “They told me they were going to put me in and wanted to know if I wanted to go play a couple games in Grand Rapids. I wanted to. I went and did that, came back and got a good opportunity then. Playing with (Pavel Datsyuk) there for a little bit and playing pretty well. And then, for whatever reason, I just fell down the lineup. I wasn’t playing a ton and when you’re not playing a lot it’s tough to do what you’ve always done.”