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At the Rink blog

Knee surgery ends Versteeg's season

Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 1:08 PM

By Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent / 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

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2012-2013 At the Rink blog
Knee surgery ends Versteeg's season

BOSTON -- The Florida Panthers will take the ice Thursday against the Boston Bruins with the fewest points in the Eastern Conference and a four-game losing streak.

Now here's the bad news:

Panthers coach Kevin Dineen announced after his team's morning skate at TD Garden that forward Kris Versteeg will have season-ending knee surgery. Versteeg, Florida's third-leading scorer last season, he has played in 10 games this season. He was playing his third game back from a prior injury when he was hit by Radko Gudas of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. Versteeg left the game and did not return.

The Panthers already are without last season’s second-leading scorer, Stephen Weiss, who faced season-ending wrist surgery.

There was a touch of positive news for Florida: Defenseman Ed Jovanovski skated with the team and continued to progress toward a return.

"So that's a loss for us," Dineen said of Versteeg. "He was starting to find his step and he'll be missed. But you lose one important piece and we've got one [Jovanovski] coming."

Here's the Panthers' projected lineup:

Jonathan HuberdeauDrew ShorePeter Mueller

Tomas FleischmannMarcel GocTomas Kopecky

Jonathan RheaultShawn MatthiasJack Skille

George ParrosJerred SmithsonMike Santorelli

Brian CampbellErik Gudbranson

Filip KubaTyson Strachan

Colby RobakNolan Yonkman

Scott Clemmensen

Jacob Markstrom

Scratched: Alex Kovalev

Injured: Kris Versteeg (knee), Ed Jovanovski (knee), Mike Weaver (lower body), Dmitry Kulikov (wrist), Scott Upshall (lower body), Stephen Weiss (wrist), Jose Theodore (groin), Michael Caruso (wrist)

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I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

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