Kris Versteeg is hearing it from his ex-Blackhawks teammates. Theyre giving the Florida Panthers forward flack on everything from his rap skills or lack thereof, according to Patrick Kane to his long hair, which Jonathan Toews tried to coax him into cutting.
Yeah, its always been a thing of Toewsers, trying to get into your head, said Versteeg, who returns to the United Center for the first time since Game 5 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals. Last night he let me know about it, but its not going to go anywhere anytime soon. Hell have to cut it off in my sleep.
All kidding aside, today is an emotional day for Versteeg, who took a minute to look at that Cup banner hanging in the United Center rafters before the Panthers morning skate. He helped put it there, and it was special to finally see it.
It was really weird, said Versteeg, who leads the Panthers in goals (17) and points (39) this season. I didnt get to see the banner raised, so (today is) the first time I got to see that. It was a pretty neat experience what you got to accomplish with the team. But Im excited about (tonights) game, excited to get this thing going.
Its the first return for several Panthersformer Blackhawks today, including Brian Campbell, Tomas Kopecky and Jack Skille. But the longest absence has been for Versteeg, who played with Toronto and later Philadelphia last season, but after the Flyers visited here in January of 2011.
Everything the Blackhawks accomplished that Cup year came back to Versteeg.
Its obviously very emotional. It hits home, Versteeg said. You spend so much time and effort as an individual to get to the NHL and then win the cup. Its emotional looking at that, in more ways than one, but it was pretty special to finally see it.
As for his rap career, Versteeg said hes working on a few things. Kane will probably have some fun with that.
You call those (rap) skills? That was pretty embarrassing, Kane said. Hopefully we dont have to see any of that for a while.