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.”

Leafs lose Panik to upper-body injury


Toronto Maple Leafs forward Richard Panik scored a goal against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, but he won’t be able to finish today’s game.

The 23-year-old suffered an upper-body injury, with TSN’s Jonas Siegel noting some concussion worries:

Florida’s Scottie Upshall delivered the hit that hurt Panik. Video of the check will be added to this post if it becomes available. (You can view it via this link.)

It’s that much more of a shame because Panik was getting a boost in the form of better linemates, something he commented upon today.

He provided the first tally in a six-goal second period between the two teams:

Overtime/shootout drama becoming the norm in Florida

Roberto Luongo

The Panthers’ lackluster attendance figures have been an ongoing story this season, which is a shame because those that have paid to watch Florida this season have largely gotten their money’s worth.

Even when the Panthers don’t win, they typically at least find a way to keep it close and that’s led to a lot of their contests being unsettled through 60 minutes. With 32 games in the books, Florida leads the league in overtime games (14) and shootouts (nine).

“I haven’t seen anything like this. It’s like a little miracle down here,” Panthers forward Scottie Upshall said, per the News & Observer.

“This is really something to build off of and we’ve got some good vibes going. But it is a little exhausting doing this every night.”

The Panthers’ last four wins have come in shootouts, including their record-breaking 20-rounder against the Washington Capitals on Dec. 16.

With all those minutes Florida has been logging, the holiday break should be more than welcome.

Florida has a 15-9-8 record to put the squad just two points shy of the Capitals, which hold the second Wild Card spot. Given that the Panthers have played in two less games than Washington, that’s not a bad spot to be in.