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Insider

Five key rookies face serious obstacles

Every rookie's season is filled with uncertainty. (How will I do? Am I good
enough?) But there's one thing all of them can count on: As Old Man Winter
gets serious past the midseason, the newbies will hit "the wall." It could stem from
too many minutes, too much responsibility -- or too much of everything. Blue
Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock has witnessed the effect, and he calls it
"overwhelming." Some players persevere; others wither and wilt. Here's how
these early-season success stories can hit the wall and skate right through
it.

Kris Versteeg, LW, Blackhawks

After spending most of the past two seasons in
the AHL, the 22-year-old has emerged as a scoring threat. In 44 games,
Versteeg has 13 goals and 23 assists while posting a plus-16 rating. "He's
smart and quick," Hawks captain Jonathan Toews says.