Panthers’ Versteeg vents about being a healthy scratch


Florida Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen might have been sending a message by making Kris Versteeg a healthy scratch on Saturday, but Versteeg’s response seems to be … don’t.

Versteeg, 27, shared his displeasure regarding that personnel move with the Miami Herald’s George Richards.

(So … so is saying this year’s Panthers aren’t very good?)

The winger did say that he hopes the team will “rally around that,” so maybe he isn’t being too selfish.

He’s coming off of a knee injury that may be slowing him a little in 2013-14; Versteeg has five points and a -7 rating in 13 games.

Dineen seemed like he was itching to scratch someone recently. Brad Boyes seemed like he was primed to be a healthy scratch on Oct.27, but a last-minute scratch opened up the opportunity for Boyes to score a goal.

Maybe this move will light a fire in Versteeg and his teammates (instead of just annoying them), then? We’ll see.

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

Jarret Stoll, Mats Zuccarello
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For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.

The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.

They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.

It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.

Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)

Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.

This post will be updated if there’s video of that staggering sequence.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.