VOORHEES, N.J. — To put it softly, Kris Versteeg’s short time in Philadelphia could have gone better. However, there may have been a reason behind the gritty forward’s lack of tenacity late in season and in the playoffs.
Philly Sports Daily learned on Monday that Versteeg will undergo surgery on his abdominal area during the offseason. The injury is suspected to be a sports hernia.
“I’m going to get the body fixed up right now,” he said, “do the surgery, recover and get ready for next season.”
VOORHEES, N.J. — In the Stanley Cup Finals last season, Kris Versteeg proved himself a Flyers nemesis. His chippy and tough-checking style, mixed with incessant chirping, had him atop the Flyers fan’s long list of most despised Chicago Blackhawks.
Now going to war with, rather than against the Flyers, in the post season against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, Versteeg still doesn’t think he has the Flyers’ faithful entirely in his corner.
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie on Monday, the Flyers have traded a 2011 first and third-round pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Kris Versteeg.
Considered a solid two-way forward, Versteeg, who has 14 goals and 21 assists in 53 games this season with Toronto, gives the Flyers’ already deep lineup even more potency. The Alberta-native will likely take the place of Nik Zherdev or Andreas Nodl as a top-nine winger. With little cap space and next to no young talent coming through the prospect pipeline, this move solidifies the Flyers’ intention of going boom or bust to bring home the Stanley Cup in 2011.
For most hockey fans, NBC’s Pierre McGuire is nearly insufferable. The ice-level color announcer’s constant hyperbole and love affair with particular players makes everyone a bit uncomfortable.
And it seems Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marty Turco is in the same boat.
At some point during the Flyers’ 4-1 victory over the Blackhawks on Sunday afternoon, a cut shot to McGuire giving analysis between benches also featured Turco gesturing slightly in Pierre’s direction before shaking his head in annoyance and disapproval. And it doesn’t come off like a joke.
Just days after unrestricted free agent goaltender Marty Turco officially denied a multi-year deal with the Flyers, the 35-year-old backstop has accepted a one-year, $1.3 million deal with the Chicago Blackhawks.
The signing came immediately following the announcement that the Blackhawks had officially released Stanley Cup winning restricted free agent goaltender Antti Niemi, after arbitration awarded the 26-year-old Finn $2.75 million. With money issues, Niemi was simply a cap casualty.
It looks like Jonathan Toews’ year just got a bit better. If an Olympic gold medal, Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe weren’t enough for the young captain of the Chicago Blackhawks, it appears as if the 22-year-old will follow teammate Patrick Kane (NHL 10) and grace the cover of NHL 11.
Two days after the Hawks won the Stanley Cup over Pronger and the Flyers, a picture has surfaced featuring the graffiti “Pronger is gay” on the Chicago locker room white board during the Hawks post-game celebration in game 6. The classless and childish epithet came a day after a video was released of Chicago’s Adam Burish verbally attacking Pronger in a media interview during on-ice celebrations.
What began as a group of unlikable, vacation-taking pub crawlers, transformed, on a blood-stained playoff proving ground, into a gritty, gutsy, never-say-die team. The type of squad that, win or lose, gets etched into lore and has made Philadelphia proud.
“I’m proud of our team and the way we compete,” Flyers coach Peter Laviolette told the media after his team’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks that gave Chicago the 4-2 Stanley Cup Finals victory. “The way we played, the way we never quit. We never gave up. They kept fighting.”
With unimaginable pressure leading into game 6 tonight with his team facing elimination down 3-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks, Flyers forward Danny Briere still manages to keep it all in perspective.
The community-driven veteran acquired valuable game 6 luxury box tickets for a group of children currently receiving cancer treatment at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“I’ve been extremely lucky. I am doing what I love to do, and playing in a series every hockey player dreams of,” Briere told the media. “I wanted to share this moment, not only with my friends and family, but with a few kids that are in a need of a reason to smile.”
Ryan Bright (Philabright@gmail.com) is a sports writer, born and raised in the Philadelphia area. A graduate of West Chester University, he has been with the Daily Local News in Chester County since early 2007, working as the paper's college and high school ice hockey beat writer. In 2010, began as a contributer for CSNPhilly.com, covering the Flyers and the Philadelphia Union.