WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Kris Versteeg was visibly upset with coach Kevin Dineen's decision to sit him Saturday and said this was the first time in his NHL career that he had been a healthy scratch.
And, Versteeg added, "I've played for some pretty good teams.''
"Obviously I'm being used as an example,'' Versteeg continued. "Hopefully the guys rally around that and win. It's tough. I've never been put in this situation. It's not fun. It's a kick to the midsection.''
Dineen said his decision was based on Versteeg's play. Versteeg has two goals this season and played less than 11 minutes of Friday's 3-0 loss to the Blues.
"That's indicative of his play the past week,'' Dineen said of Versteeg's shrinking minutes. "He's looked pretty frustrated the past three games, and honestly, hasn't played well. When he's at his best, he'll be a big contributor to this team.''
"I just want to be in the lineup and help this team and contribute. This is my first time ever doing this and it isn't pleasant. You want to be out there helping the guys.
"I put in a lot of work, a lot of effort this summer. This isn't what I wanted. But it's up to the coaches who plays. I'll just leave it at that.''
-- Sean Bergenheim was sat as a precaution as the Panthers don't want him pushing things too much by playing in the second game of a back-to-back set.
Bergenheim missed all of last season and much of the first month of this season after having numerous surgeries relating to his abdominal core.