NHL ON NBC: CUP FINAL REMATCH
Preview: Bruins vs. BlackhawksJohn Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist
The first game of the season between last spring's Stanley Cup Finalists finds each hanging on to first place in its division after an up-and-down start in the New Year. READ MORE ›
Versteeg didn't play in the third period of a 4-2 victory against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night at United Center after an accidental collision with teammate Bryan Bickell as the second period expired.
Prior to practicing with the Blackhawks on Saturday, Versteeg had to pass protocols in place to guard against playing with a concussion. He said the biggest issue was having his wind momentarily knocked out of him.
"When you get winded like that, it's a pretty [bad] feeling to say the least," said Versteeg, who scored his ninth goal earlier in the game. "You're just gasping for air. But it was a lot of just precaution. I woke up and felt good and really want to play in [Sunday's] game."
The 6-foot-4, 233-pound Bickell said he just couldn't avoid the collision.
"We ran into each other," he said. "I haven't seen the video but I clearly turned right into him. I don't know what happened. It was a collision, one of those things like he better move or I'm just going straight. He took the worst of it, I think."
Bickell initially didn't realize Versteeg had gotten hurt bad enough to leave the game.
"With his little bit of air that he had left in his lungs, he said something to me [behind the net]," Bickell said. "I was like, 'Oh, so he's fine.' So, I went to the bench and I looked back and he was on his knees. It was at the end of the period and I saw him between and he said he was alright and he couldn't breathe. Just got the wind knocked out of him, I guess. He looked good out there today."
Knowing Versteeg wasn't hurt seriously, Bickell was able to joke that it might've been the biggest hit of the game for either team.
"It felt like it," Versteeg said. "I sort of ran into a bus, pretty much, and it feels like it a little bit. It was accidental, but it's never fun to be involved in collisions like that."