"He’s not going to play on the power play very much," said Hitchcock. "He’s going to kill penalties. If the roles were reversed (Wednesday) night and we were killing all the penalties he would have played 21 minutes.
"He’s a key guy up front on our hockey club. He’s going to play big minutes and going to play against the opposition’s best player."
But, in the new NHL, Primeau may find his role is reduced in more than just one game against the Rangers.
"I accept that he’s (Hitchcock) got me in a different role that doesn’t include the power play," said Primeau. "In a game like (Wednesday) night it’s tough. You have two power-play units and he thinks he’s getting me on the ice and he doesn’t realize until the game is over that I’ve only played 11 minutes.
"It actually bothers him more than it bothers me. I was more disappointed with how I played than the minutes I got. That’s his dilemma. To figure out how to get me more ice in the new NHL with more penalties being called."
Primeau said if this happens on a regular basis it will start to eat away at him.
"It’s going to drive me nuts," he said. "It was one of those games (Wednesday) night. It was tough all the way around. I was frustrated going home (Wednesday) night because I want to lead and the way for me to lead is to go out, make contact and get momentum and I wasn’t able to do that because of all the special teams.
"It scares me a lot because I don’t want to have spells where it gets like that. There was one time where we were chuckling on the bench and I turned to (Donald Brashear) and said, wait we don’t want another penalty. Can we decline? We’ll punt. We’ll decline the penalty."
Still, Primeau is staying the course, and is leading by example. Knowing his role has been reduced, he has taken it in stride and accepted it, setting the tone for the rest of the team.
"I just do what the coach asks," said Primeau. "If he wants me to sit on the bench and cheer for 60 minutes, then I’ll sit on the bench and cheer for 60 minutes. If he wants me to play 60 minutes then I’ll play 60 minutes. He’s the coach and I’m the player and I just do what I’m told. That’s the only way our locker room can work because we all have to accept our roles. If I accept the cards that are dealt to me then it gives nobody else an excuse to accept what they’re dealt."