Considered one of the NHL’s leading injury reserves for the All-Star Game in Ottawa on Jan. 29, Flyers forward Scott Hartnell could still be on the outside looking in despite open spots.
With injuries to selected All-Stars, Minnesota Wild’s Mikko Koivu and Dallas Stars’ Jamie Benn, Hartnell, who is having a career season with 19 goals and 19 assists in 43 games, might still be behind unheralded but buzz-worthy Phoenix Coyotes forward Radim Vrbata, who has 22 goals and 15 assists in 45 games.
Helping Vrbata jump on the All-Star map is his three goals and assist in his last three games.
“There’s no directive to replace a Wild player with another unless he’s a worthy candidate,” said Wild beat reporter Michael Russo. “So I’m not so sure the Wild will have a representative anymore. I’d think Radim Vrbata gets the call or Scottie Hartnell.”
Another option to consider is the promotion of another Wild player in Koivu’s wake. Winger and former Senator Dany Heatley has been tagged as the only other consideration with 13 goals and 17 assists in 45 games. The move would also provide valuable drama to an otherwise drama-less event, as Heatley demanded a trade out of Ottawa in late 2009, causing immense bad blood with the city and its fans.
Florida Panthers forward Kris Versteeg could also be a name on the table, with 17 goals and 22 assists in 42 games.
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.”
WELLS FARGO CENTER — Peter Laviolette put it bluntly.
“It’s a game that’s made for men,” the Flyers coach said after last postseason’s Game 7 win against the Boston Bruins. “And our guys proved to be men today.”
And with the season on the line against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Center in a crucial Game 7, the Flyers are looking to tap into that masculine fervor one more time.
“All your eggs are in one basket,” said forward Kris Versteeg. “It’s a game where you better be prepared because if not, it’s all over.”
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.
Kris Versteeg gathered the puck in the defensive zone early in the second period of Sunday’s Flyers-Rangers contest at Madison Square Garden.
From his own slot, the newly acquired forward tried to brainlessly push the disc through hard-checking Rangers’ forward Ryan Callahan, who easily scooped it up and fired top corner into the Flyers’ net to give the Rangers the 4-0 lead. The Blue Shirts would further their advantage to seven before the final whistle mercifully rang.
“Turnovers are what’s killing us,” Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger told the media after Sunday’s game. “We can look at second-effort and all the rest of that after, but turnovers, we have to get the puck in deep and forecheck and get some sustained pressure down in the offensive zone and start grinding on teams as we’ve done in the past. Until we do that, teams are going to pick us apart like they have been. ”
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.