It’s a much different off-season for Kris Versteeg.
Of course we all know by now that he was a part of the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks one year ago, however this summer Versteeg is on the mend after a surgery in which doctors had to repair two different areas in his stomach muscle.
Something very new to the 5’10’’, 182-pound Flyers forward.
“I think it went fairly well,” said Versteeg. “I’m no doctor, but they told me they went in there and stitched up two holes that they needed to. It was near the pelvic bone where there were tears. It’s been a couple weeks and I’m feeling good now.”
Like almost all NHL players, Versteeg admitted that the injury was not ideal to play with but he was far from making excuses and reiterated that it never changed the way he played.
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“You don’t want to make excuses on anything and you try to play through it every game. I’m going to come hard and play with whatever it is. You’re not going to be 100 percent healthy anyway, no guy in the playoffs generally is.”
Versteeg is around the rehab timeline where he can start skating and working out to strengthen the area, and although skating isn’t in the plans just yet, he is already looking forward to spending his first full season with the Flyers.
“You get your strength back and get back to working out. It’s generally a three-week surgery and you can start playing the game again, but I have a little more time off, so I’m excited to start working out and getting back at it.”
Although technically not occurring on trade deadline day, Versteeg was a part of the Flyers move to add another skilled, pesky forward to their line up without breaking up the already established core of players.
On Feb. 14, the Flyers acquired Versteeg from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for their first and third round pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft.
Since joining the Flyers, he posted seven goals and 11 points in 27 games, while recording an additional six points (1G-5A) in 11 playoff games. It is the third consecutive year that Versteeg has made it past the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Overall, Versteeg improved upon his 2009-10 mark with a combined 46 points (21G-25A) in 80 regular season games split between the Maple Leafs and Flyers, and in his third full season in the NHL, he has recorded over 20 goals each year.
With still a little time left in the summer before he can get back into the full swing of things regarding a work out regiment, Versteeg plans on doing something he hasn’t done since becoming a full-time member of the NHL.
“I’m heading back home to Lethbridge, Alberta (just south of Calgary). I’m pretty excited about it because it’s been a few years where I’ve really had a chance to go home and settle down and hang out with the family.”
Having been in the mix at this time last year, it is almost a given that one thing he won’t be doing back home is watching another team compete for Lord Stanley’s Cup.
“I’ve watched couple of the games, but not too many. When you’re done, you’re pretty sour and you don’t want to watch anybody else. You watch when you can, but it’s not something I’ll go out of my way to do.”