Samuelsson on Canucks: “I didn’t think highly of management”

Thought this might be of interest. Mikael Samuelsson recently had an interview with Ronnie Johansson of HockeySvierge.Se. The full interview can be found here, but it is unfortunately in Swedish. We reached out to a Swedish friend of Canucks Army who was happily willing to translate the interview for us.

Samuelsson discusses some of his past issues with the Canucks, including his role, his feelings when he was traded away from the club last season, and finds a way to blame Alex Burrows for the Canucks losing the Stanley Cup Finals to Boston.

Click past the jump for the full text.

During his last tenure with the Red Wings, Samuelsson’s point totals varied between 34 and 45 points. His best seasons point-wise were in the Canucks jersey.

I had a bit of a different role in Vancouver. Point-wise, it doesn’t really differ that much. I scored around 50 points a season there.

First season with the Canucks had its ups and downs, but the second season I got to play with the Sedins. That meant a lot of time on the power play, and if you don’t score lots of points in that situation, you don’t belong there. You can’t fail no matter how little talent you might have.

In the media the final series between the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins was described as a series of hate. How did the players experience that?

Me, myself was in the press box during those games, but it probably wasn’t very good that (Alexandre) Burrows bit Patrice Bergeron in the finger in the first game. After that, Boston was angry. You might say that was the wrong team to fire up. They play a very physical game and I thought it would’ve been better to let the bear sleep, if you know what I mean.

We were close to winning it, we had a 3-2 advantage, but Boston turned it around and deserved to win.

What went through your mind when you got traded back to the Florida Panthers team you left in 2004?

Disappointed is not the right word, but I liked it a lot in Vancouver. I had a pretty significant injury my second season in Vancouver when I torn (something I can’t translate) in my groin. The rehab was going well and I felt good in camp, but when the season was about to start the leg didn’t work.

Looking back at it now, it might have been good to be traded, I got extra time to rehab and come back fully fit. I liked it a lot in Florida, but it was tough leaving the Sedins, Edler and the other guys up in Vancouver. I didn’t think very highly of management, so in that way I didn’t mind.

So there you have it. Unfortunately, Johansson didn’t ask any follow-up questions relating to Samuelsson’s role on the club or exactly why he didn’t think too highly of Canucks management.

There’s some good beef in here. Samuelsson was of course injured for the second half of the Canucks’ 2011 playoff run, and I suspect his thoughts on “Bite-Gate” are no more of a plausible explanation for the Canucks’ sub-3% shooting that Aaron Rome’s hit on Nathan Horton, but it’s fun to hear these guys’ thoughts sometimes.

  • That doesn’t sound like he’s blaming Alex Burrows for losing the Cup final at all. He just says it didn’t help. Way to totally misrepresent a player and twist a quote into something else.

  • KleptoKlown

    Samuelsson always speaks his mind! Remember what he had to say about Sweden’s management crew on the 2010 Olympic team?

    I never really agreed with having him on the point instead of Salo on the PP. He never really found a regular spot on any particular line. He would play with the Sedin’s on the first line right after a PK, and then his next shift he’s on the 4th line.

    Some people would call that versatility, other would call it trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

    Trading Samuelsson and Strum for Booth was a smart move. While I’m not convinced Booth is the answer as a 2nd line winger, Samuelsson and Strum were spare parts, getting older, and most importantly, on expiring contracts. The Canucks got a good return on 2 guys they signed as free agents.

  • KleptoKlown

    Great interview! I don’t think Cam’s take on blaming Burrows is that far off. It actually sounds like Samuelsson was a little bitter Burrows took his coveted spot.

    Honestly though, players don’t have to like mgt. Gillis and co. aren’t out to coddle players. It’s their job to get the most bang for buck. So far, they’ve been doing a fairly good job (drafting is one area that isn’t yet clear). I never forget reading how players hated Scotty Bowman. Can’t argue with results though.

  • NuckfiSh

    i guess when talking to swedish reporters, he doesn’t say “oh, i don’t know, that’s a great question” nearly as much. the straight shooter he is, i wonder he’ll ever say things like “i didn’t think highly of the management” in north america.

  • KleptoKlown

    I always loved watching Samuelsson interviews for his honesty however he may have reinvented some history here. When Samuelsson signed with the Canucks he was very honest in stating that the only reason he signed with them was because they were the only ones that offered him a three year deal. For him to admit so freely that he was a mercenary player only picking the team for the money I think it’s a bit offside for him to complain about being traded away. If you admit you have no loyalty to a team when you sign you can’t complain when they they show you the same loyalty in return.

  • KleptoKlown

    “Samuelsson is a smart player, it’s too bad that he disagreed with management’s approach. WIsh we’d had a few follow up questions so we could’ve got more specifics!”

    As Mooney said over at PITB, it’s most likely due to the way his and Sturm’s exits were handled. I don’t think many players like be traded from contenders to bottomfeeders (like Florida was slated to be). It ended up working out for him in a sense, but at the time I imagine it would have been frustrating.

    Talking to Sturm and seeing how he committed a full year and then was cast aside after six games probably didn’t help either. Not to mention Gillis’ character assassination of Cody Hodgson at the end of the year. Sometimes you have to make objective decisions that have emotional implications. When you follow that school of thought like Gillis and co, chances are you’ll piss some people off.

  • KleptoKlown

    Thanks for the translation, I was looking for exact wording.

    Boy oh boy. Samuelsson has always been pretty honest via media, but this is over the line. Just as Berniers comments re: requesting a trade publicly is over the line. What is wrong with these guys? Do they need the attention, do they need to say everything that’s on their mind? Are they disgruntled? Sammy wasn’t even asked about Nucks management, he just had to add that little detail about not ‘thinking highly of them’.

    Either way, this is not the stuff Nucks org wants out there ….. at all. And they need to find a way to quash it, ASAP. I’ve said it for over a yr now, the teams image has taken a huge hit since the playoffs last yr. Some deservedly, most not. It’s left them floating around every players poll in a negative fashion. Gillis needs to hire a image consultant firm in some sort of capacity.

    • KleptoKlown

      And the award for mind numbing over reaction goes too…

      The Canucks don’t need to do anything at all. They don’t even need to acknowledge this interview.

      Image consulting firm…

  • KleptoKlown


    Thanks for the correction. You’re right, although I do remember Samuelsson having some opportunities to try playing that wing. It was only a guess, at any rate.

  • puck-bandit

    I’ve always admired Sammy’s honesty, he spoke what he felt. I was not happy with Burr for his antics in the finals, but emotions were high, and everything at stake. Some media tried to manipulate the story in their way, the blame game, but that is not what Sammy meant. Either way, don’t feel he said anything wrong, to include his opinion around management. He did not do any image damage in my estimation, we are a target anyway, people luv to hate us, and I’m ok with that.

    I for one wish him all the best, and hope he has a great year.