Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 01/28/13 at 03:16 PM ET
from Harvey Fialkov of the SunSentinel,
While the Panthers are tied for last in goals scored with eight, the Lightning are first with 24 goals. Their star-studded trio of Martin St Louis, Steven Stamkos and Vincent Lecavalier have a combined eight goals and 27 points. Florida's injury-riddled top line of Stephen Weiss, Tomas Fleischmann and Kris Versteeg have one goal and four points.
Weiss attempted a pre-practice solitary skate-and-shoot session, but it was clear by the disgust on his face that his strained groin will keep him out of his third straight game. On the bright side, Versteeg, the third leading scorer on the team last season, will make his delayed season debut after missing the first five games with a groin injury.
"Never in my life,'' Versteeg said of having not played a hockey game in nine months. "I'm excited for it but someone might need to bring an oxygen tank on the bench.''
A grim-faced Dineen was still not in a jocular mood following the intense practice in which the Panthers focused on puck-battling drills.
"The big picture is we're not playing well enough, as organized enough, or as intense enough as we need to get this thing turned in the right direction,'' Dineen said. "[Versteeg] was a large part of our lineup. … As excited I am to get him back we need the whole team as a group to come together and start playing together.''
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