Kris Versteeg

Panthers’ Versteeg (upper body) questionable for Thursday versus Habs


Panthers forward Kris Versteeg was absent from practice today and, according to Florida head coach Kevin Dineen, is questionable for Thursday’s home game against Montreal.

The Sun-Sentinel is reporting that Versteeg suffered the injury when he was hit into the boards by Washington’s Alex Ovechkin during last night’s 6-5 overtime loss to the Capitals.

Versteeg returned to the game, and even fought Ovechkin, but the 26-year-old (who’s already missed five games this season with a groin injury) was clearly shaken up after the hit.

The Panthers have to be pretty shaken up as well after blowing a late two-goal lead to the Caps. Florida now sits 4-6-2 after 12 games and has the NHL’s worst goals-against average (3.83).

Still, Dineen reportedly “wouldn’t even touch the thought of” bringing up goalie Jacob Markstrom from AHL San Antonio, where the 23-year-old is 15-14-2 with a .923 save percentage.

Florida’s tandem of Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen has combined for a .872 save percentage, the second lowest in the NHL.

Video: Flyers, Bolts confirm 3-on-3 OT is pretty much the greatest thing ever

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Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.

Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.

And what a look it was.

In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.

It was, in a word, fun.

Lots of fun.

A quick sampling of reviews:

Of course, not everybody was a fan:

Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.

But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.

In Jets return, Burmistrov delivers headshot to Bergeron (Updated)


Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.

Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:

Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).

The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.

Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…