Tag: Tomas Kopecky

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.

Panthers squeak by Islanders in SO to stay on Bruins’ heels

Jonathan Huberdeau

The Boston Bruins pulled off a dramatic comeback against the Philadelphia Flyers this afternoon, putting the pressure on the Florida Panthers to beat the Metropolitan Division-leading New York Islanders just to keep pace. The Panthers didn’t make it look easy, but they got two points in a 4-3 shootout victory.

Without defenseman Aaron Ekblad and forward Tomas Kopecky (both flu), the Panthers leaned heavily on 35-year-old Brian Campbell and 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr, giving them 26:18 and 21:12 minutes of ice time respective. However, it was ultimately Jonathan Huberdeau, 21, that proved to be the hero tonight.

He netted a key goal for the Panthers in the third period and accounted for the only marker in the shootout.

The Panthers also had Dan Ellis playing between the pipes as goaltenders Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya are both sidelined. Ellis kicked out 25 of 28 shots before out dueling Frans Nielsen, John Tavares, and Josh Bailey in the skills competition.

Florida improved to 29-23-14 to remain two points shy of the Bruins in the battle for the second Wild Card spot. It’s worth noting though that Boston has a huge lead in ROW (30 to 22), so any tie is projected to go to the Bruins.

Panthers acquire Jagr from Devils

Jaromir Jagr Sightings In Prague

The Florida Panthers have made a big splash prior to Monday’s trade deadline, acquiring 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr from New Jersey in exchange for in exchange for a second-round draft pick in 2015 and a conditional third-round draft pick in 2016.

Jagr has scored 11 goals and 29 points in 57 games for the Devils this season, but recently complained about his lack of ice time and the club’s narrowing (virtually closed) window for making the playoffs. While there’s no guarantee he’ll get there with Florida, the Panthers do have a better shot — heading into tonight’s action they’re just two points back of Boston for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Florida will mark Jagr’s eighth NHL stop, having previously spent time in Pittsburgh, Washington, New York (Rangers), Philadelphia, Dallas, Boston and New Jersey. It’s also worth pointing out that his last foray into the playoffs came during the Bruins’ run to the 2013 Stanley Cup Final — and now, Jagr’s playing for a Florida team that’s chasing the B’s in the standings.

The Panthers clearly made this move with veteran playoff experience in mind. In their release, they note that Jagr is now the sixth Stanley Cup-winner on the active roster, joining Dave Bolland, Brian Campbell, Tomas Kopecky, Willie Mitchell and Shawn Thornton.

Much will also be made of Jagr’s age, given how many youngsters Florida has in the fold. To put things in perspective, Calder Trophy candidate Aaron Ekblad, 18, was born in 1996 — the same year Jagr scored a career-high 67 goals and 149 points.

Some trade details, per ESPN:

Panthers blow late lead, lose in SO to Predators

Filip Forsberg

The Florida Panthers’ playoff chances were dealt another blow this afternoon as they coughed up a third period lead en route to a 3-2 shootout loss against Nashville.

Florida had a 2-0 edge through 40 minutes and outshot the Predators 15-4 in the third frame. What ultimately sank the Panthers was a hooking penalty from Derek MacKenzie and a slashing call against Tomas Kopecky. Nashville isn’t known for its strong power play, but Seth Jones and Filip Forsberg capitalized on those opportunities.

That was Forsberg’s 18th goal of the season. The Calder Trophy frontrunner now leads all rookies with 48 points in 53 games. He came up big again in the shootout by scoring the deciding goal in the fourth round.

With that, Nashville has now won four of its last five games to improve to 35-12-6 this season. If Anaheim loses against Tampa Bay today, then the Predators will have the best record in the NHL.

By contrast the Panthers have been struggling lately with just three wins over their last 11 games. They’re six points shy of a playoff spot and will be further behind than that if Boston beats Montreal tonight (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Here’s an early look at Team Europe

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 13: Anze Kopitar #11 of Slovenia skates against Russia during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game on day six of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 13, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

COLUMBUS — First, they really need to figure out the name.

Officially it’s the straightforward-but-staid “Team Europe,” though we heard plenty of other monikers during Saturday’s announcement of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey: Pan-European, Team Other Europe and The Island of Misfit Boys (courtesy Bleacher Report’s Dave Lozo, which I feel might not stick)

For clarity’s sake, the squad is called Team Europe (for now) and comprised of players outside the traditional Big Four — Sweden, Finland, Russia and Czech Republic — of international hockey. As such, the NHL and NHLPA have hatched a Ryder Cup-style squad of players from Slovakia, Switzerland, Slovenia, Norway, Denmark, France, Belarus, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Austria and another other European country I’ve failed to mention.

Let’s take a look at potential roster choices shall we?

Forwards: Anze Kopitar (Slovenia), Marian Gaborik, Marian Hossa, Tomas Tatar, Tomas Jurco, Richard Panik, Tomas Kopecky (Slovakia), Thomas Vanek, Michael Raffl, Michael Grabner (Austria), Mikhail Grabovski (Belarus), Mikkel Boedker, Frans Nielsen, Jannik Hansen, Lars Eller (Denmark), Antoine Roussel, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (France), Tobias Rieder, Leon Draisaitl, Marcel Goc (Germany), Zemgus Girgensons (Latvia), Mats Zuccarello (Norway), Nino Niederreiter (Switzerland), Dainius Zubrus (Lithuania).

Defense: Zdeno Chara, Andrej Sekera, Lubomir Visnovsky, Andrej Meszaros (Slovakia), Roman Josi, Mark Streit, Yannick Weber, Luca Sbisa, Mirco Mueller, Raphael Diaz (Switzerland), Christian Ehrhoff, Dennis Seidenberg (Germany).

Goalie: Jaroslav Halak (Slovakia), Frederik Andersen (Denmark), Thomas Greiss (Germany), Jonas Hiller, Reto Berra (Switzerland).

Halak, who’s represented Slovakia internationally on a number of occasions, figures to be in the mix for one of the goaltending spots — and, one would think, the starting job — but has mixed feelings about the Team Europe concept.

“I would say if it was 10 years ago it would be upsetting because 10 years ago we had a lot of guys in the NHL,” he explained during . “Right now, we got maybe 12. So that would be tough to make a team out of 12 guys.

“Obviously you need 20. It will be different to see [the rest of Team Europe] but at the same time I’m open to it. It would be nice to play with some other players from different countries.”

As most assumed when reports of a Team Europe concept first broke, the team will be well-stocked at forward but thin on defense and in goal. On their own, Switzerland and Slovakia probably have the strongest contingents but lack depth certain positions. Other countries simply don’t have enough players period so, from a competition standpoint, the Ryder Cup-style amalgam makes sense.

It just remains to be seen if all the projected players fully embrace the idea.

“I’m sure it’s going to be strange at first, but playing against each other you know pretty much all of the guys anyway, Kopitar said. “I don’t think it’s going to be too hard to come together.”