Scottie Upshall’s loss is Sean Bergenheim’s gain.
Upshall looks to be a healthy scratch for the second time in the last five games tonight against Buffalo, according to the Miami Herald.
The decision to drop Upshall paves the way for Sean Bergenheim — who hasn’t played for the Panthers since Apr. 2012 — to make his season debut.
But back to Upshall for a moment.
The 30-year-old winger, in the third year of a four-year, $14 million deal, finds himself mired in Kevin Dineen’s doghouse. The oft-injured Upshall has just one assist through nine games this year, posting a minus-5 rating while averaging just 12:27 per game.
And speaking of Dineen’s doghouse, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Bergenheim tonight.
Bergenheim, 29, has had a rocky relationship with both the Florida head coach and organization over the last 16 months (read all about it here). Last week, Dineen questioned Bergenheim’s toughness after the Swedish forward balked at an earlier return to the lineup, opting to visit a physical therapist in Toronto instead.
“I’m worried about his career, I’m worried about him as a player,” Dineen told the Florida Sun-Sentinel. “It’s been an extremely long time off. I understand it’s an extremely hard game we play. He’s not a good player unless he’s physically involved in the game and he’s active.”
Dineen wasn’t done there.
“[Bergenheim] can’t feel his way into the NHL,” he continued. “That just can’t happen. He’s got to come back, feeling good about himself, understanding, you know what, there are guys in here that have bumps and bruises, and are playing hurt every night. You’re not going to feel 100 percent playing.”
According to NHL.com’s Alain Poupart, Bergenheim took line rushes this morning with Jesse Winchester and Scott Gomez.