Toronto Maple Leafs: Is Kris Versteeg Snake bit?

October 22nd, 2010 No Comments

When the announcement came over the summer that Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke had acquired Kris Versteeg from the Chicago Blackhawks just about every Maple Leaf fan on the planet did a little happy dance.

As a member of the Blackhawks, playing mostly as a third liner, Versteeg was able to put together back-to-back 20-goal seasons and was a big part of the Hawks’ Stanley Cup victory.

Versteeg had a tremendous pre-season—quickly establishing chemistry with sniper Phil Kessel and setup man Tyler Bozak on the first line, adding an element of speed and complimenting Kessel’s scoring ability.

While the acquisition and pre-season went very well for Versteeg, he seems to have as much luck as a new fish at an online poker tournament when it comes to scoring goals—little to none.

Through his first six regular season games Versteeg has struggled to put the puck in the net, scoring just once on ten shots.

Worse still, it’s where Versteeg has been missing from—often finding himself on a breakaway, wide open in front of the net and/or with the goaltender out of position.

Fact is, Versteeg has probably missed the net more than ten times, which, under the circumstances, makes me think that he should pull a Pedro Cerano (a character from the movie Major League) and look to sacrifice a live chicken!

Of course Cerano eventually settled for a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken and then promptly went out and got his team a big hit—as stupid as it may sound, maybe Versteeg should hit a KFC this week?

Let’s face it folks, playing alongside Kessel (who, given all the attention he receives from opposing defensemen opens up the ice for you) and Bozak (who is quickly becoming one of the better set-up men on the Leafs’ squad) should be like playing in one of the easiest poker rooms in Vegas—you are gonna score big!

As is the case with every poker player, hockey players go through cold streaks and, with a little luck, they eventually find their game, catch a break or two and find themselves on a hot streak.

For head coach Ron Wilson it would be a huge gamble to take Versteeg off the first line, but a case could be made that a change in scenery, at least in small doses, may be the best thing for Versteeg right now.

Now, don’t get me wrong, nobody is suggesting Wilson Scrap the Kessel-Bozak-Versteeg line, but a calculated move to the second unit or a trip to the power play with a couple of new line mates might just be the sacrifice Versteeg will have to make.

Or he could go with the chicken—whatever suits him best!

Until next time,


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