Florida Panthers winger Kris Versteeg didn’t do much to mask his disdain about being a healthy scratch – allegedly for the first time in the NHL – on Saturday. He said the right things about fighting his way back into the lineup, although he also admitted to the Miami Herald that he isn’t a guarantee to play in the team’s next game Tuesday.
“I have to earn my time back,” Versteeg said. “It’s not easy but you keep working. You get paid a lot of money to play a game you love, so you roll with the good times and deal with the bad times and try to always come out on top, do the best with the opportunity you’re given. I’m fine. I know what’s expected of myself.”
The 27-year-old acknowledged that he might be slowed by recovering from last season’s knee injury, but also believes he’s been working hard.
Head coach Kevin Dineen was coy about whether Versteeg will be back in the lineup. To be fair to Dineen, Versteeg has only managed an assist in his last five games played.
To add a little optimism to the situation, maybe Versteeg will come up with some new form of flashy mustache and/or Hulk Hogan hair to marvel us with now that he has a little downtime?
Meanwhile, Tim Thomas (lower body) won’t dress on Tuesday but is expected to travel with the team.
Update (Tuesday, 10:37 a.m. ET)