(CBS) After being a regular contributor in the regular season, Blackhawks winger Kris Versteeg has had his role reduced to nothing of late in the postseason.
Versteeg has been a healthy scratch for Chicago’s past six games — the four-game sweep of Minnesota in the second round and the first two games of the Western Conference Final against Anaheim that’s tied 1-1 entering Game 3 on Thursday night at the United Center. Rookie Teuvo Teravainen has taken his place, and he’s likely to stay in the lineup after solid play.
Still, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville believes there will be a role for Versteeg at some point in this series, even if it’s not in Game 3.
“He’s had a great week of practicing,” Quenneville said. “He’s not happy. He wants to play in the worst way. He keeps himself and puts himself in a position to be a candidate to get in the lineup. We’ve had some decisions along the way here. I know last game we could’ve inserted him, but we’ll see. I like his approach. I told him we expect him in this series.”
Versteeg had one goal in the six games he played in the opening-round series against Nashville. He had 34 points in 61 regular-season games and performed well when teamed with Brad Richards and Patrick Kane on the second line.
“It’s never easy when you’re not in,” Versteeg told the Chicago Sun-Times. “You always want to be in and competing and helping the team out whatever way you can. But you know what, you’ve just got to come and be the best teammate you can be, regardless of whatever the situation is.”