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Samuelsson to Make NHL Debut with Dad Watching from Other Bench

by Dan Rosen / Arizona Coyotes

NEW YORK -- Coyotes forward Henrik Samuelsson will make his NHL debut against the Rangers. His father, Ulf Samuelsson, is an assistant coach for New York.

Photo by Norm Hall.

"Even though it's my first NHL game I don't want it to just be a one- or two-game stint," Henrik said. "I want to come up here and play good, show them what I can do."

Ulf Samuelsson played for the Rangers from 1995-99. Henrik, who was born in 1994, said he remembers playing mini-sticks hockey in the wives room at Madison Square Garden when his father was playing for the Rangers.

"He's on the other team, so I'll talk to him after the game," Henrik said.

This is the second time Ulf Samuelsson will coach against one of his sons. Philip Samuelsson, now a Coyotes prospect playing for the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League, played against his father and the Rangers in his second career game last season, when he was with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"I'm more worried about what coach Tippett has to think right now than what my dad has to think," Henrik said, laughing.

Samuelsson has 10 goals and 25 points in 50 AHL games this season. He had 95 points in 65 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League last season, and had eight points in five games to help Edmonton win the Memorial Cup.

"I expect a young player to play with a lot of energy," Tippett said. "Obviously there is a lot of excitement and it's unique for him that his dad is on the other bench. He's a young player but he's been around the game his whole life. We're going to put him in a situation where he can go out, get up and down the ice, work hard, bang around and try to use his assets as best he can to get his feet wet in the NHL."

The Coyotes are making sure that Samuelsson knows this isn't a sentimental call-up just because his father is on the other bench.

"If you look at how we've scored the last 10 games, we're looking for scoring from anywhere, and Sammy, to be an NHL player, he's going to have to contribute in that area," Tippett said. "We'll give him an opportunity tonight and hopefully he can start off on the right foot."

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