Kris Versteeg has been slumping lately — no goals and just one point in seven games — yet his harshest critic isn’t Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville.
It’s Kris Versteeg.
“I guess when you play like [expletive], you’re not going to play,” Versteeg said, per the Chicago Sun-Times. “I just have to try to work hard to get back in.”
A potential healthy scratch — Versteeg wasn’t on a line during Monday’s practice — is the latest in what’s been a tale of two seasons for Versteeg. The 28-year-old had a great start to the year, scoring 27 points in his first 33 games, but suffered a major setback against Washington at the 2015 Winter Classic, breaking his hand and missing nearly six weeks of action.
Versteeg was fine in his first five games back following the injury — scoring three goals — but has struggled ever since. He got an increased role offensively following Patrick Kane’s season-ending injury but has failed to capitalize on the opportunity, and saw his ice-time dip to 13:32 in Saturday’s 6-2 win over the Sharks.
Quenneville wouldn’t say if Versteeg would be in or out when the ‘Hawks host the Islanders, but the latter seems likely. What’s more, this wouldn’t be the first time this season Quenneville utilized the healthy scratch to get one of his forwards going — Bryan Bickell was also parked in the press box recently in an effort to spark his game.
“We’re just looking for some more [from Versteeg],” Quenneville explained. “His last game wasn’t very good.”