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updated: 11/16/2013 10:45 PM

Versteeg big fan of Blackhawks coach

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Kris Versteeg made his Blackhawks re-debut Saturday with the team that was at the top of his wish list.

Versteeg had a no-trade clause with Florida, but the Hawks were the one team about which he didn't have to be asked.

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One of the key reasons for wanting to play for the Hawks was getting reunited with coach Joel Quenneville.

"I do have a no-trade, and you get to choose teams and obviously Chicago was at the top of the list," Versteeg said. "Joel is a winning coach, and he's proven that ever since he's been with the Avalanche and the Blues and obviously coming here now and winning two Stanley Cups in five years.

"He's got a proven track record and he knows how to win, and winning makes times a lot more fun.

"Sometimes in Florida, with all the great guys we had there, when you're losing it's tough on guys and tough on guys mentally. Winning fixes everything, and Joel's really done that."

Hawks general manager Stan Bowman said Versteeg was a guy he had targeted.

"He brings a lot of energy, a lot of competitiveness, and he's got great skill level to complement our players," Bowman said. "He's been through the grind of a playoff and he understands the sacrifices you have to make as a player.

"He really has taken on a different role since he left here. He's been a top-line guy the couple places he has played, but here he has the ability to move around in our lineup, which gives the coaches a lot of options."

New Panthers excited:

Jimmy Hayes told the Florida media he was looking forward to the opportunity he's going to get with the Panthers.

"It's a huge opportunity for me," he said. "I hope to prove I can play, work hard and develop my game here."

Florida GM Dale Tallon said both Hayes and defenseman Dylan Olsen are going to get the chance to play. "They were stuck behind some top talent in Chicago, but they're going to get an opportunity to play here," Tallon said.

Seating chart:

Hawks equipment manager Troy Parchman didn't waste any time putting Kris Versteeg next to Andrew Shaw in the United Center dressing room.

"I had nothing to do with that," Joel Quenneville said. "In fact, that's the first I heard of it.

"They're going to be playing together. so I imagine their friendship will grow real quickly and I'm sure that they're going to have fun together on and off the ice."

Pirri still No. 2:

Brandon Pirri's status as the Hawks' No. 2 center won't change with the acquisition of Kris Versteeg.

"We've been talking about Brandon Pirri for a long time, and he has earned it," Stan Bowman said. "He spent his time in the American League. It's not easy to get to the NHL and thrive, and he's getting there slowly. We're trying not to give him too many responsibilities because you want him to have the confidence and have success.

"For a young offensive player, the biggest challenge is being comfortable to play both ways. I think he's working at it. I'm certainly proud of the way he has hung in there. He's got things to improve on, but we like the offensive part of his game. We know he can score because it's something he has done at every level."

Food drive:

The Hawks' annual food drive to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository is under way.

Fans can bring nonperishable items to Sunday's game against San Jose to help feed Chicago families this holiday season.

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