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At the Rink blog

Versteeg out for Panthers; Leafs go with Reimer

Tuesday, 02.28.2012 / 2:06 PM

By Neil Acharya - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Versteeg out for Panthers; Leafs go with Reimer
TORONTO -- Leading goal scorer Kris Versteeg will not play for the Florida Panthers versus the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night. 

"He has a little bit of a lower-body injury that has been bugging him for about a week," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said after the morning skate. "He's wanted to play through it, but when he is not 100 percent he doesn't have that extra step."

Dineen confirmed that Versteeg did not make the trip to Toronto and will not play until being evaluated next week. 

It is expected Dineen will use Wojtek Wolski and Jack Skille to varying degrees in hopes of filling the void left by Versteeg's absence. 

Versteeg did play in Florida's victory over Montreal on Sunday, but did not finish the game.

Jose Theodore will start in net for the Panthers, while Toronto coach Ron Wilson has elected to start James Reimer despite being critical of the netminder's performance in a loss to Washington on Saturday night.

"It's Reimer, because we believe he can get the job done," Wilson said in his pre-game press conference. 

Wilson, who will be coaching his 1,400th NHL game, confirmed defenseman Mike Komisarek will also be in the lineup, taking the place of Cody Franson.

"It's very competitive on our back end," Wilson said. "Sometimes he is out because other guys have played better, sometimes he is out because we have won with a certain group. Tonight he needs to be physical and make simple plays, move the puck, keep it out of the middle and be aggressive."

Komisarek has been a healthy scratch for the past four games and last saw action on Feb. 15.

The Panthers visit will mark the end of Toronto's four-game homestand in which the Leafs have only earned one of a possible six points. It will be the third meeting between the two clubs, with the Panthers having taken both previous meetings by a combined score of 10-4. The 10th-place Maple Leafs trail the Panthers by five points in the Eastern Conference race.

The Panthers have taken five of a possible six points in their past three games.
Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres