VERBEAUTY HAS BECOME VERUGLY
Why is Kris Versteeg on the ice in the final minute of a game when you are trying to protect a one goal lead?
First, here's an assessment of Versteeg:
Good offensive player. Quality backchecker. God awful with the puck in his own end. I mean seriously, how many more bad turnovers is this guy going to make in crucial situations?
I felt bad for him in the locker room. No one was talking to him. I walked over, and said, "Were you trying to chip the puck to Matt Carle behind the net?"
"Yeah," he said somberly.
"What happened, did you just chunk it," I asked.
"Yeah," the same somber response.
"So it hit the side of the net and took a bad bounce out front?"
This from a guy who likes to talk!
But it was more than just the one turnover. He had an equally egregious gaffe in the 7-0 embarrassment in New York last Sunday.
Then he took a dumb interference penalty that led to Enstrom's goal that cut the lead to 4-3 inside of three minutes to play.
And from what I've been told, it's a bit chronic. One NHL scout recently said to me that Versteeg is "an unconscious gambler" with the puck.
"He takes too many risks in too many areas of the ice that you can't afford to take chances," the scout said. "That kind of play is going to come back and bite you in the butt."
He wasn't the reason they lost in New York. He wasn't the reason they lost to Atlanta.
But he was a big part of both.
And aside from a three game stretch where he played some inspired hockey, Versteeg has proven to be a bit of a disappointment thus far.
He has 4 goals and two assists for 6 points and is a minus-1 in 13 games.
When you add in the mistakes and the untimely penalties, it hardly seems like he has been worth the price the Flyers paid.
It's a small sample for sure. And Versteeg could prove to be a nice piece before the end of the regular season, let alone the playoffs.
But for now, he's a bit of a head-scratcher.
One other query... Why has Laviolette given the team off again Sunday? That's three off days and one practice day in a week. That NEVER happens in the NHL.
There's got to be something up with the Flyers on that front too. What it is exactly though remains to be seen.