Flyers vs. Senators 12/23/2008
Injured third liners often receive only a side mention at the top of a broadcast or possibly a quick note on a team website. For most depth guys, that’s more than enough coverage. Especially since there’s likely to be an AHL recall worthy of discussion in his place.
Scottie Upshall (sprained knee) will not play tonight for the Philadelphia Flyers. I realize that he’s just a journeyman player, juggled throughout the lineup as needed and demoted to the lower six when everyone is healthy. However—and maybe this is just one reflection of the Flyers’ depth at forward—he is among the most valuable of the Flyers’ journeymen.
Scottie Upshall combines skill with energy every time he’s on the ice. He ranks fourth on the Flyers in hits with 47 in 33 games played. Upshall yaps constantly and tends to incite his opposition to fight.
Yet, he can also be a threat to score. He’s sixth in shots with 58, and seventh in goals with 5. Decent numbers for a guy who only plays 13 minutes a night (that ranks 16th on the Flyers).
John Stevens uses him in every situation, placing him on the second power play unit and out for the penalty kill as needed. And though there aren’t many stats available on this, Upshall probably leads this team in drawing penalties because he utilizes his speed and strong skating to force the opposition to restrain him.
The Flyers should be more than able to defeat the scoring-challenged Senators this evening at the Wachovia Center, even without Upshall. But with the Flyers already short a forward like Danny Briere, they are certainly a better team with Upshall than with substitutes like Kalinski and Powe.
Second intermission. Senators 2 – Flyers 4.
- If the Senators muster any defense tonight and come back to win, Alex Auld will be the first star of the game. He’s robbed the red-hot Jeff Carter numerous times this evening, not to mention his other fantastic saves.
- The Philly Sky Line members (Carter – Hartnell – Lupul) look ravenous for goals. They’ve scored twice already tonight, and they keep tenaciously pursuing the puck. Even Joffrey Lupul, well-known for being unmotivated and lazy at times, is diving after pucks to keep them within the offensive zone.
- Congrats to Andreas Nodl on his first NHL goal! Keep ’em coming!
- It’s not a surprise, but Randy Jones looks a tad rusty out there. That might be a result of his pairing with Andrew Alberts instead of Kimmo Timonen. Or it might just be fatigue from Sunday. Either way, it’s good we’re playing the Senators and not the Bruins.