Lupul hit

Leafs’ Lupul suspended two games for ‘reckless’ headshot


The NHL has suspended Toronto forward Joffrey Lupul two games for hitting Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman in the head during Wednesday night’s game.

“After Hedman passes the puck, Lupul approaches from the side and recklessly targets Hedman’s head by elevating and making it the principle point of contact,” said Rob Blake of the NHL’s disciplinary department.

Here’s the full video explanation:

Lupul was given a two-minute minor for illegal check to the head on the play, while Hedman left momentarily before returning to action.

Following the game, Lupul said targeting Hedman’s head was unintentional and tried to defend the hit.

“I didn’t realize I got him in the head,” he told reporters. “I saw he was hurt — again, I gotta see the replay but by no means did I go after and try and hit him in the head.

“I wasn’t even over there to hit him, he kinda came back towards the middle at the last second, and it’s unfortunate.”

Blake said Hedman being uninjured played a role in the ruling, as did the fact Lupul had no past disciplinary incidents during his nine-year NHL career.

Lupul will now miss Toronto’s next two games — Thursday in Buffalo, Saturday vs. Boston — and will fork over $45,945.94 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

After PTO, Upshall signs one-year deal with Blues

Florida Panthers v Ottawa Senators
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Scottie Upshall has parlayed his training camp tryout into a contract with St. Louis.

On Monday, the Blues agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with the veteran forward, worth $700,000 at the NHL level. The deal comes after Upshall spent all of training camp and the preseason impressing the Blues his speed and skating ability, no small feat for a 31-year-old veteran with over 500 NHL games on his odometer.

But where Upshall fits in the Blues lineup — and within the organization — remains to be seen.

The club has plenty of depth up front and Upshall isn’t coming off a terrific campaign, having scored just eight goals and 15 points in 63 games with Florida last season. That said, he showed enough to be just one of a handful of veterans on PTOs to score a contract.

Panthers’ Crouse is going back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One
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Lawson Crouse is going back to junior. The big 18-year-old winger confirmed it today on Twitter.

Crouse was drafted 11th overall in June by the Florida Panthers. Despite the club’s belief that Crouse could make “an immediate impact” on the roster, he finished the preseason with just two shots and one assist in three games.

Crouse will return to the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, with whom he’ll look to improve on his modest point totals from last season.

“I don’t think there’s any pressure on the kid,” coach Gerard Gallant said last week. “If he doesn’t make the team this year he goes back to junior … and will have a lot of success.”