Blackhawks News

Kris Versteeg Will Play Tonight

By Gail Kauchak
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Feb 15, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Kris Versteeg (23) with the puck during the first period against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Well folks, it’s official.  Kris Versteeg will indeed be playing against the New York Islanders tonight.  He did not play among the top fourth lines during Monday’s practice, and everyone including Kris Versteeg himself thought he would be a healthy scratch for tonight’s game.  But at practice this morning, Steeger rotated on the third line with Daniel Carcillo.  After practice, Coach Q confirmed that it will be Versteeg for tonight.

Versteeg has played on the top line with Toews and Hossa for the last 5 games, starting when they matched up against the Carolina Hurricanes on March 2nd.  During this time, he’s had 1 assist and 4 shots on goal.  Meanwhile, in that same span of games, Patrick Sharp has played mostly on the third line, and has scored 2 goals and had 22! shots on goal!

I can definitely see swapping these two in the lineup, and it looks like Coach Q has done just that.  Here is the way the lines looked at practice this morning.

Sharp-Toews-Hossa

Saad-Vermette-Teravainen

Bickell-Richards-Versteeg/Carcillo

Desjardin-Kruger-Shaw

Hey, how about that top line?! I think somebody (yours truly) recently predicted that!  I’m gonna go out on a limb here and also predict a goal or at least and assist from Sharpy tonight.  Toews hasn’t scored in the last 4 games; let’s see if his new left winger can feed him the puck.

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The second line has played together for the last 3 games.  In the most recent match up versus San Jose, this line combined for 1 goal and 4 assists.  Teuvo Teravainen seems to have established himself as deserving to be among the top 6 forwards.

Bryan Bickell was a healthy scratch for the Rangers game last Sunday, but has drawn back into the lineup since.  He scored a goal during the San Jose game, but I think he definitely has more to give.  Perhaps his goal was his starting point.

Versteeg and Richards have some pretty good history together.  They played on the second line with Kaner, and all three looked great earlier in the season.  Bicks and Richards combined for a goal and an assist (respectively), on Saturday against San Jose.  Let’s see what these three can put together tonight.

Andrew Desjardins hasn’t impressed me much in the 2 games he’s played.  After tonight’s matchup, Joakim Nordstrom will be eligible to return from his 2 game suspension.  Unless Desjardins does something pretty phenomenal tonight, I see him being a healthy scratch more often than not going forward.

Well, Coach Q played his mind games with Kris Versteeg, but it was only for a practice.  I’ll bet it did the job though.  He might have gotten demoted, but at least he’s playing.  Look for Steeger to come out motivated and ready to go tonight!

Is it 7:30 yet?

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