DETROIT – It’s been a rough two seasons for Jan Mursak, the former sixth-round draft in 2006, who spent more time on injured reserve than on the ice with the Red Wings.
So when the Slovenian learned that he has been placed on waivers Friday morning, he wasn’t bewildered by the move.
“Well, it wasn’t that surprising,” said Mursak, who practiced with the Wings Friday afternoon. “I just thought that I would get more opportunity to play. I had one game. It just seemed that I wasn’t the right fit on to that team. I wasn’t the kind of player to play on the fourth line.”
Mursak suffered a collar bone injury when he was slammed into the boards by St. Louis captain David Backes in the season-opener on Jan. 19. Mursak made his return to the Red Wing’s lineup on Thursday and skated 8:43 of ice-time with linemates Tomas Tatar and Joakim Andersson. But Mursak believes that he never was a fit here.
“The thing is they wanted me to keep playing simple,” he said. “Don’t risk anything, just put the puck in. I used my speed a lot, so maybe they don’t want me to turn the puck over so much. I know I turned the puck over (Thursday) a couple of times, but I was just trying to make a play.
“A lot of times even good players turn the puck over 3-4 times and then one time it goes through and they score a goal. I can’t afford doing that on the fourth line with limited ice-time and, yeah, I think I played a solid game yesterday, especially for the opportunity that I got. But, yeah, like I said, there are a lot of good players here that can jump into that role too.”
And that was the difficult part for the oft-injured Mursak, who had to battle for a spot with such young forwards as Andersson, Tatar and Gustav Nyquist.
“He’s a kid who just got back, so it’s hard to come in and … like two years in a row he’s missed the start,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said on Friday. “It’s a tough situation for him, but ideally he’ll earn his ice-time.”
Still, Mursak, who produced two goals and two assists in just 46 career games with the Wings, he said he enjoyed his time in Detroit.
“It was awesome to be in the locker room full of super stars and people, but now I have to move on,” said Mursak, who is in the final year of his contract with the Red Wings. “I’ll continue my career on any other team or I’ll be down (to) Grand Rapids … We’ll see where it goes from here.”
Mursak also suffered a fractured ankle in the final preseason game, which forced him to miss much of the 2011-12 season.
Mursak will know by noon Saturday where his hockey world will take him next. The Wings have the option to send him to the Griffins, if he clears waivers.
Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose
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