Puck Daddy - NHL

In the first period of their game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night, Florida Panthers leading scorer Kris Versteeg(notes) (yup, still strange to write that) skated down the middle of the Canes' offensive zone with the puck. That's where he met Derek Joslin(notes); or, more to the point, Derek Joslin's elbow:

From On Frozen Pond, the Panthers and Versteeg were none too pleased about Joslin skating away with no penalty:

The Panthers were quite upset when Kris Versteeg was bloodied during the first period after being hit by Derek Joslin. Versteeg slowly skated to the ice where his face was worked on by athletic trainer Dave Zenobi on the Florida bench.

At the end of the period, Versteeg waited to talk to a referee but didn't like the explanation. Before going through the tunnel to the locker room, Versteeg chucked his stick in frustration.

Just spit-ballin' here, but we're guessing the ref said something about Versteeg stumbling into Joslin's elbow as he tried to move around the defenseman to chase the puck. Because that appears to be what happened here, at least via this replay angle.

The Panthers won the game 3-1, spoiling Kirk Muller's debut as Carolina coach. Versteeg played 18:46 and didn't tally a point for the third consecutive game; in fact, he only has two shots on goal in those games after averaging nearly three shots per game in his previous 21 games.

He's been Mr. Crankypants lately, too. The Panthers play seven games in 13 nights, and only one of them on home ice. Said Verbeauty to the Miami Herald:

"It's a garbage schedule," said Kris Versteeg, shaking his head. "But you can't complain about it; you just have to go out there and play hard every night and not worry about that. It's been pretty tough though with the games so far and the travel. I think we've done great with what we've been given."

In fairness, it's a brutal trip: The Panthers now fly to the West Coast to play the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks this week, before flying back for a game vs. Washington and then it's on the road again to Boston and Buffalo. That's a lot of time spent on airplanes listening to Kris Versteeg freestyle.

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