Even with the Florida Panthers retaining half of Kris Versteeg’s cap hit when they sent him to Chicago, the Blackhawks didn’t get great value out of the 28-year-old forward.
Chicago made him a healthy scratch four times in the playoffs and even when he was in the lineup, he only averaged 11:55 minutes per game. With the Blackhawks’ season on the line in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final, Versteeg played in seven shifts, totaling 3:44 minutes to set a new playoff low for the second straight contest.
Still, the Blackhawks aren’t done with Versteeg. He’s signed through 2015-16 and although Chicago could buy him out — it would have to be a regular one as they’ve already spent their cap-free compliance buyouts — they won’t do that, per NHL.com’s Brian Hedger.
“We expect more going forward,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville added, according to the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc.
Chicago’s hoping that Versteeg will benefit from a full offseason where he can work on his conditioning. He was still dealing with a knee injury through the summer of 2013 that stemmed from the lockout-shortened campaign.
Prior to the lockout, Versteeg scored at least 20 goals in four straight campaigns.
It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.
To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:
The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)
That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:
They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.
Cheap shot on a superstar, a little uncalled goalie interference and presto – Blue Jackets win!
The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.
You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.
That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:
Coach Bylsma: Feel like after Jack's goal, the game changed for us. #gamechanger