Tag: Scottie Upshall

Detroit Red Wings v Florida Panthers

Panthers cutting ties with Kopecky, Upshall


Two members of Florida’s big 2011 free agent haul are on their way out of town.

Tomas Kopecky and Scottie Upshall — both primed to become UFAs on July 1 — won’t be offered contract extensions, Panthers GM Dale Tallon announced on Thursday.

Kopecky, 33, had a disappointing campaign in ’14-15, scoring just two goals in 64 games while routinely sitting as a healthy scratch. Upshall, 31, had slightly better production — eight goals and 15 points in 63 games — but, like Kopecky, also spent time as a healthy scratch under first-year head coach Gerard Gallant.

That Florida’s cutting ties with both isn’t surprising.

Signed in July ’11 to similar deals — Kopecky’s was a four-year pact for $12M, Upshall’s was $14M over four — the pair helped Florida make the playoffs in their first season, but struggled to be impact players over the following three (Upshall, it has to be said, was repeatedly plagued by injury.)

The duo will likely be replaced in-house. Florida has a number of young forwards looking to make the leap to the NHL next season, which includes the likes of Rocco Grimaldi, Logan Shaw, Connor Brickley and Quinton Howden.

Kerry Fraser: Orpik hit on Boyle was legal


We all saw the hit Brooks Orpik put on Dan Boyle last night:

After the game, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault reportedly thought Boyle would be fine. But the 38-year-old didn’t look particularly fine trying to skate off the ice, and he didn’t return to the game.

Many observers felt Orpik deserved to be penalized for a hit to the head.

Ex-referee Kerry Fraser, however, deemed the hit legal.

Fraser’s full explanation is here at TSN.ca. But it boils down to Rule 48, which was reworded in 2013 to clarify that only “avoidable” contact to head would be punished.

According to Fraser, the contact to Boyle’s head was not illegal, because:

– Boyle placed himself in a vulnerable position.
– The Rangers player materially change his body and head position immediately prior to the hit delivered by Orpik.
– Orpik attempted to hit squarely through his opponent’s body and did not “pick” Boyle’s head.

The NHL has applied the reworded Rule 48 before. Remember when Radko Gudas was not suspended for a hit on Scottie Upshall?

Fraser, for the record, does not like the fact that Orpik’s hit was a legal one. In fact, he feels it’s “time to rethink the end game and re-draft” Rule 48 to outlaw hits that are “designed to inflict excessive punishment on a vulnerable player.”

Florida Panthers, deadline buyers?

2014 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7

On Tuesday, Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon was on Sportsnet’s Fan 590 to discuss his surprising squad — just one point back of Boston for the final wild card spot in the East — and what the future might have in store.

It’s a future that could see the Panthers be deadline buyers for the first time in a while.

“We’re in a good position,” Tallon explained. “I don’t think we’re going to change much, regardless of where we’re at — we’re still keeping an eye on the future as well — but we’re in a good position where we can either add from within, or go out and get somebody.

“So it’s all good.”

After a mediocre start to the season — Florida was 7-6-6 following a 4-1 loss to Minnesota on Nov. 24 — the Panthers have caught fire, going 13-5-3 over their last 21 games which includes their current three-game winning streak. Roberto Luongo is playing at a Vezina level (17-7-7, 2.23 GAA, .927 save percentage) and the club is getting tremendous production from youngsters Nick Bjugstad and Aaron Ekblad, which has brought excitement back to Sunrise; the Panthers drew 15,000 or more fans in each of their four home games prior to the current road swing.

So, why not keep the enthusiasm going and push for just the second playoff appearance in 14 years?

The Panthers do have some flexibility in terms of financial maneuvering. There’s a slew of veterans that are pending UFAs — Tomas Fleischmann, Scottie Upshall, Tomas Kopecky and Sean Bergenheim — and a number of prospects on entry-level deals playing very well in AHL San Antonio (Rocco Grimaldi, Alex Petrovic and Quinton Howden, to name a few.)

Tallon alluded to these factors when discussing how he’ll approach the deadline.

“We’re always looking to get better,” he explained. “We have some good young players in San Antonio that we want to get to, and we have some good players that we have to sign this offseason.

“So we’re in a good position. We’re obviously in the hunt.”