Umberger: “I Let Hextall Down”
PHILADELPHIA — This is different from last season.
R.J. Umberger was a team leader with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He scored 18 goals that year, eight of them on the power play and was still a healthy scratched. He felt he should have been in the lineup and his benching was unwarranted.
This year, after returning to Philadelphia in an offseason trade for Scott Hartnell, Umberger feels he can't complain about not playing Tuesday night against the Dallas Stars. Hartnell has 43 points to Umberger's 15 and Hartnell missed five games in December with a broken finger. Umberger is on pace for his worst point totals since he had 18 in the lockout-shortened 2013 season.
"When things aren't going well, that's added pressure. You feel that," Umberger said, comparing himself to Hartnell. "I think the biggest thing that's bothered me is that I feel like I've let (general manager Ron) Hextall down. He believed in me bringing me here and I feel like I just haven't been the player for him that he needs."
Umberger hasn't scored in 18 games, a career-high, and said, "I don't feel like I have two feet to stand on with my game right now."
His left eye a little bloodshot and limping around the locker room, Umberger won't say that he's too hurt to compete. That's not why he isn't playing.