The Florida Panthers shocked many last season by winning the Southeast Division, but the deck might be stacked against them in 2013. The team already looked like it would be shorthanded going into opening night, but now you can add first-liner Kris Versteeg to the injured list.
Versteeg “pulled something” on Friday, according to the Miami Herald. With that, he joins jet-lagged Dmitry Kulikov, concussed Mike Weaver and the injury-suspended trio of Sean Bergenheim, Erik Gudbranson and Marcel Goc on the sidelines.
Versteeg is in the first season of four-year, $17.6 million contract. He had offseason hip surgery that kept him from being locked out until mid-November, so there’s a chance that is what is hampering him now.
The talented winger was limited to 71 games played in 2010-11, but still made an impact in that time, setting career-highs with 23 goals and 54 points.
Snarky hockey fans will notice his absence, too. He turned some heads with some wild hair last season and is now sporting an incredible mustache. The Miami Herald did some strong nose-critter journalism in this post, but you can revel in this photo of last season’s locks (via Getty).
If Versteeg can combine last season’s hair with this year’s mustache, it’s hard to imagine any defenseman, goalie or injury slowing him down.