Chicago Blackhawks assign veteran defenseman Scuderi to Rockford
Two months ago -- when Rob Scuderi heard he was going to play for the Chicago Blackhawks -- the veteran defenseman admitted he had "a little bit of a smile" on his face.
"To be a part of this group is an honor," Scuderi told us on Dec. 15 after being traded from Pittsburgh a day earlier. "And I hope I can contribute."
Before arriving in Chicago, Scuderi contributed to the Penguins and Kings over the previous nine seasons, missing just 54 games (29 coming in one season), and averaging more than 19 minutes of ice time.
On Wednesday, though, the Blackhawks clearned $950,000 worth of salary cap space by assigning the veteran defenseman to the Rockford IceHogs after he cleared waivers. Scuderi, who played in six straight games upon joining the Hawks, was a healthy scratch in seven of the last nine games.
In an interview with the Daily Herald last week, Scuderi was asked if he expected to be playing so sporadically?
"No. No, I didn't," Scuderi said. "But you're here, this is your team and you try to be the best teammate you can be. I think every player wants to play more. I'm no different."
Scuderi, who was acquired from the Penguins for Trevor Daley, knew that he was sitting out because of the solid play by rookies Erik Gustafsson and Trevor van Riemsdyk (and now Viktor Svedberg).
"It's not something I like doing, but as a member of a team you're trying to be part of something that's bigger than yourself," Scuderi said.
Coach Joel Quenneville addressed the issue with Scuderi, knowing it can be difficult to make the transition to a role player who gets 10-13 minutes a game.
"Sometimes your role and your job description can evolve and get reduced as you get older," Quenneville said last week. "So it's something we have to manage together and treat your practices like games. … It's something that sometimes can be accepted, and sometimes you can fight it.
"The best way to fight it is how hard you work in practice to get yourself back in the game."
Scuderi, a father of four, moved his family to the Chicago area about two weeks after the trade. He could be part of yet another trade with the deadline 11 days away.
"If that's something that happens to come up, then it happens," Scuderi said. "But for me, I'm trying to get in the lineup, trying to have good practices, continue good habits and be ready when your number's called."