Is Nhl Ready for Ulf Ii, the Sequel? Samuelsson's Son Has Familiar Traits

By Molinari, Dave | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), June 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Is Nhl Ready for Ulf Ii, the Sequel? Samuelsson's Son Has Familiar Traits


Molinari, Dave, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


TORONTO -- All it takes is a quick look at Henrik Samuelsson's face.

One glance at his chiseled features, and there's no question he is Ulf Samuelsson's son. If only because he's too young to be his twin.

But the genetic connection isn't limited to bone structure and hair color. Ulf Samuelsson's DNA shows up on his son's on-ice rap sheet, too.

Henrik Samuelsson, a rugged forward eligible for selection at the NHL entry draft June 22-23 at Consol Energy Center, spent the second half of the 2011-12 season playing for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League.

Enough time to get a lot of attention from people who evaluate teenage hockey talent for a living.

And enough to get suspended four times for infractions that include a crosscheck to the face, a low hit, kneeing and charging.

Some who are familiar with Samuelsson's work contend he was punished too severely for at least one of those offenses. Still, he clearly doesn't just cross the line sometimes, but soars over it.

Kind of like his father -- a core member of the Penguins' Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1991 and '92 -- did during his days as the NHL's most-despised opponent.

And, much like this father, Samuelsson gets mixed reviews for his gritty, chippy, grating style of play.

There are those who see his knack for unnerving opposing players as one of Samuelsson's greatest assets. Others feel his lapses in composure and discipline are a major liability.

"That's something I need to work on, not stepping over the edge too much and not taking as many penalties," Samuelsson said Thursday. "I've gotten better at it as the season went along."

That doesn't mean there's a Lady Byng Trophy in his future. Samuelsson is most effective when there's an edge -- a hard edge -- to his game.

"I have to use my big body [6 feet 2, 192 pounds]," he said. Laughing, Samuelsson added, "Occasionally, I like to hack and whack people. I think it's a good part of my game."

No less an authority than his father agrees, although Ulf Samuelsson has cautioned against straying too far outside the rules.

"He doesn't want me to get suspended anymore," Samuelsson said. "But he knows I have to play with a chip on my shoulder. He played with a pretty big chip on his shoulder, too. …

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