Phoenix’s Scottie Upshall suspended two games for hit on Philly’s Oskars Bartulis

Last night, Phoenix’s Scottie Upshall delivered a violent hit to Flyers defenseman Oskars Bartulis, injuring him and knocking him out of the game. (See YouTube video here) Upshall received two minutes for boarding on the play and while it seemed somewhat unassuming in that it didn’t look like your typical awful hockey hit, the league felt differently.

Today the NHL suspended Upshall for two games for the hit. As far as dangerous hits go, this one certainly does qualify. Bartulis was in a bad position for it and Upshall used his leverage against him to throw him into the boards.

As for what Upshall’s take on it was, he was pretty open about the play and regretted it as he shared on Twitter.

While Upshall didn’t have any intention of injuring Bartulis, it turns out that’s exactly what happened as TSN’s Bob McKenzie tweets that Bartulis is injured for the remainder of the season. Bartulis was in the lineup because Sean O’Donnell was out with a knee injury he suffered on Sunday against the Rangers.

Fortunately for Philly, O’Donnell should be back soon but they’ll be shorthanded in the meantime. That means Philly is back on the market in the hunt for another defenseman. Good thing the trade deadline is coming up.

Habs claim Byron off waivers from Flames

Paul Byron
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Montreal added some forward depth on Tuesday, acquiring diminutive forward Paul Byron off waivers from Calgary.

Byron, 26, is a veteran of nearly 150 career NHL games, most coming with the Flames. Despite fairly solid production over the last two years — 40 points in 104 games — he was exposed to waivers on Monday, along with fellow forward Mason Raymond.

(Calgary does have a logjam of players at forward, hence parting ways with Byron and Raymond.)

Byron can play both wing and center but, at 5-foot-7, 153 pounds, is one of the most undersized skaters in the league. Thankfully for him, Montreal has an affinity for undersized forwards, with the likes of Brendan Gallagher (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) and David Desharnais (5-foot-7, 174 pounds) already on the active roster.

Byron could also fill Zack Kassian‘s roster spot. Kassian is currently suspended without pay while undergoing Stage 2 of the NHL’s Substance Abuse program.

Isles claim goalie Berube off waivers

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jaroslav Halak
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The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.

Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.

That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.

If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.

The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.