When the Florida Panthers lost Stephen Weiss to season-ending wrist surgery, they lost a player who would have been coveted at the trade deadline as a No. 2 center and impending UFA. Sigh Ö
Well, at least the Panthers still had a player like Kris Versteeg they could peddle at the deadline: a solid winger with playoff experience, locked into a $4.4 million cap hit through 2016.
That is, until he undergoes season-ending knee surgery this week, according to George Richards of the Miami Herald. Double-sigh Ö
Hereís how Versteegís season ended, on a knee-on-knee hit from Radko Gudas of the Tampa Bay Lightning (in his NHL debut) on Tuesday night:

Said Gudas after the hit:
"Itís the type of my game. I play the body," Gudas said. "I wasnít going to hurt him or anything. I went for the puck and turned my back to him and he kind of tried to jump around me. Itís something that happens in hockey. I obviously didnít want him to get hurt or anything. I hope heís okay."
Well, he wasnít. But in fairness, itís not like heís the first Panther injured this season. Heck, he missed 13 games earlier in the year with a chest injury.
So what voodoo curse has befallen this franchise? Is it because Club Red is an affront to the Hockey Gods, as The Rat Trick opines? Or did Dale Tallon actually forge a pact with Satan himself to win a division title last season in exchange for a season from hell in 2013?
Weíre guessing the latter. The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was inventing the charity point.