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Philadelphia a happy place for Versteeg

Tuesday, 02.22.2011 / 2:38 PM / NHL Insider

By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Flyers coach Peter Laviolette admits he's tried to forget the fact Kris Versteeg was celebrating the Stanley Cup in Philadelphia as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks only eight months ago.
 
He's just grateful now to have him on his side Tuesday when Versteeg makes his Flyers home debut against the Phoenix Coyotes here at Wells Fargo Center.
 
"He just has to be a nice complement to what we already have and I thought that his last game was good (against the Rangers)," Laviolette said of Versteeg, who has played four games since he was acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 14. "He's very quick on the puck, he's got a quick stick. I think he's getting more comfortable here and that's a good thing. It takes time when you're in a new environment, a new system with new players and a new coach. Things take a little bit of time, so we found minutes for him last game and we'll see if we could continue that."
 
Versteeg, who spent his first three seasons with the Blackhawks before joining the Leafs in a trade this past summer, considers it strange that now he's looking to help the team he helped beat last spring.
 
"It's something where I'm excited about this … excited about coming here," Versteeg told NHL.com. "Obviously, the pinnacle of my career was last season and it happened here. Whatever team I'm with is the team I want to win with, and now it so happens to be Philadelphia and I'm excited about that.
 
"I'm really excited. I said it before -- this is a really intimidating building to come into and play and now that I'm on the right side, I'm excited about it."
 
While it is taking some time to learn Laviolette's system, the 24-year-old Versteeg said it's been a relatively smooth transition into the Flyers locker room.
 
"It's a pretty tight room; everyone treats you great," he said. "In Toronto it was the same way, but it was a young locker room with a lot of new players. You could tell everyone was trying to get to know each other. Here, everyone has been together for quite a long time and you could sense that by the way they respond to each other."
 
In four games since becoming a Flyer, Versteeg has 1 goal and 1 assist while averaging 15:16 of ice time per game.
 
"He saw some power-play time last game and we're looking to get him some more penalty-killing time and get those minutes up," Laviolette said. "We didn't want to get him in here and overwhelm him. We have a good team so he didn't have to come in here and move mountains."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery