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updated: 11/18/2013 3:10 PM

Versteeg sees good changes with Hawks

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  • Chicago Blackhawks right wing Kris Versteeg (23) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the San Jose Sharks during the third period of an NHL hockey game on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, in Chicago.

      Chicago Blackhawks right wing Kris Versteeg (23) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the San Jose Sharks during the third period of an NHL hockey game on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, in Chicago.

  • Ryan Hartman, a winger, stands with officials from the Chicago Blackhawks sweater after being chosen 30th overall in the first round of the NHL hockey draft, Sunday, June 30, 2013, in Newark, N.J.

      Ryan Hartman, a winger, stands with officials from the Chicago Blackhawks sweater after being chosen 30th overall in the first round of the NHL hockey draft, Sunday, June 30, 2013, in Newark, N.J.

 
 

When Kris Versteeg found out he was traded back to the Blackhawks, he figured the assimilation process would be a breeze.

After all, he was quite familiar with many of the players and coach Joel Quenneville from his previous run with the team, which concluded with a Stanley Cup title in 2010.

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Well, the 27-year-old forward has found out just how quickly things can change.

"Everyone's gained experience and age and wisdom," Versteeg said. "Even 'Q,' he's got new things he sees and puts out there.

"I thought coming back I was going to know most of it, but you definitely don't because that's what good coaches and good organizations do -- try to build on what they've already done."

Though he may not be familiar with all the intricacies yet, Versteeg has looked right at home on the ice, registering 3 points in his first two games since his return to the Hawks, including his first goal in a red sweater in Sunday's win over San Jose.

Versteeg is looking to reacquaint himself with the system and his teammates, and will get that chance now that the Hawks have embarked on a seven-game road trip that begins Tuesday in Colorado.

"That's what happens when you're on the road -- you get to see guys and hang out with them a little more than at home, so that will be nice," he said.

Not that his teammates are expecting the re-getting-to-know-you process to take long at all.

"Everyone's happy to have him here; doesn't matter if you were here in 2010 or not," Patrick Sharp said. "Everyone knows what kind of player Steeger is.

"He's a great guy for the locker room, too. He's already making guys laugh, so he's fitting right in."

Good to see some things haven't changed.

"I remember when I was here back in 2010; I think every guy who came here felt right at home right away," Versteeg said. "The guys here have made me feel really comfortable right away."

Avs on the edge:

Don't look now, but the previously red-hot Avalanche have hit a bit of a bump in the road.

Colorado has dropped three straight, including a 4-1 loss at home to Florida on Saturday that didn't leave first-year coach Patrick Roy in too good of a mood..

"I hate to lose a game like this in front of our fans," Roy told reporters after the game. "Our fans deserve better than a game like this from our part.

"I don't like our focus. I thought that we were not as focused on what we had to do. I guess we were focusing maybe on the result more tonight. We made some poor decisions."

Hartman in the fold:

The Blackhawks agreed to terms with forward Ryan Hartman of West Dundee, the team's first-round selection (30th overall) in the 2013 draft, on a three-year contract.

Hartman, 19, has posted 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists) in 20 games this season with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League. He leads the Whalers in points, while ranking second in goals and sharing third in assists.

Tip-ins:

Coach Joel Quenneville remained hopeful that Marian Hossa could return to the lineup Tuesday after missing the last two games with a lower body injury. ... Jimmy Hayes hit the ice for the first time as a Florida Panther in Saturday's 4-1 victory at Colorado. The 6-foot-6 forward logged just over 7 minutes of ice time.

He said it:

"There are a lot of teams that play against the Blackhawks and I'm sure the coaches are telling them the same thing, that turnovers kill you. That if their D-men get to move the puck up-ice with their eyes up instead of turning, their counterpunch is incredible. We learned that lesson again."

-- San Jose coach Todd McLellan after Sunday's 5-1 loss to the Hawks

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