From fan favorite to most wanted

This article can be found published on Chicks Who Give a Puck.
Scottie Upshall was excited to return to Philly Tuesday night, but he may not feel the same way next time. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Scottie Upshall was excited to return to Philly Tuesday night, but he may not feel the same way next time. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Tuesday night marked the return of former fan-favorite Scottie Upshall to Philadelphia. It was the first time he entered the Wells Fargo Center since he was traded two seasons ago.

To say that he loved the city and Flyers fans is an understatement. Many won’t soon forget his farewell interview before he boarded a plane to Phoenix where he visibly fought back tears. Even after almost a full two seasons with the Phoenix Coyotes, he still seems to hold a tight bond with the City of Brotherly Love, as was evident in teammate Paul Bissonnette’s tweet the night before the game:

“Going out to eat with my old pals Dan Carcillo and Jeff Carter. @ScottieUpshall is coming obviously. Guy loves this city. #CutTheCordUppy”

The Coyotes came into Philadelphia riding high on a seven-game win-streak. Flyers fans, while there to support the team, also featured several who came to see the return of a favorite player in Upshall. Signs could be seen on the Coyotes side of the ice during warm ups, welcoming back the high-energy forward.

It is tradition in Philadelphia that for the announcement of every opposing starter, a “Sucks!” chant will be yelled from the crowd. As a player, you know your time on the Flyers was appreciated when the fans put aside the tradition and give you an ovation – exactly what Upshall received.

The joy of seeing Upshall lasted only a period, though. Within the opening minute of the second period, Sergei Bobrovsky covered the puck and as the whistle blew the play dead, Upshall slammed full speed into Flyers defenseman Oskars Bartulis. Bartulis, who was playing in his first game since Jan. 11 as a replacement for injured Sean O’Donnell, flew head and shoulder first into the boards and laid sprawled on the ice in pain. After a few minutes, he was helped off the ice, clearly favoring his right shoulder. He didn’t return.

Flyers fans relentlessly booed Upshall as he was skated to the penalty box after receiving a boarding minor. In just one instant, he went from favorite to Philly’s most wanted. Fans could be heard throughout the arena calling for Upshall’s head.

With such a fast moving player as he is, it’s hard to judge whether the hit was accidental or intentional. Regardless of that fact, Philadelphia has taken the initiative to cut the cord. The former favorite will more than likely never again receive some brotherly love next time he returns.

No matter how Flyers fans may now view Upshall, there is no doubt that his tweets after the game were sincere and honest regarding the hit:

“Watched the highlights of our game. My hit on Bartulis was without a doubt late, but I had absolutely no intention of injuring him. I hope his MRI tomorrow is a positive one…”

He admitted to his hit being late. While this does not heal Bartulis, it does show some character and honesty.

On Wednesday, the league announced a two-game suspension for Upshall. Flyers GM Paul Holmgren released a statement that “Bartulis is out with left shoulder instability and will require more testing tomorrow,” but shortly after, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported Bartulis’ injury season ending.

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Categories: Ice Hockey, NHL, Sports

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