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A Little Help from His Friends

by Kevin Kurz / Philadelphia Flyers
Upshall excited to have old acquaintances join club for upcoming season


(Voorhees, NJ, August 20) – When Scottie Upshall was acquired from the Nashville Predators last season as part of the deal for Peter Forsberg, it didn’t take long for the speedy, exciting and personable right winger to become a fan favorite at the Wachovia Center. That being said, it’s not surprising that Upshall is one of the first to arrive back in town in preparation for the first day of training camp on September 14.

Of course, being the avid golfer that he is, playing a round at one of the most prestigious golf courses in the nation may have helped to speed up his return to the East Coast.

“I actually flew in [August 12] to New York for the Hockey in Harlem golf tournament,” said Upshall, who played in the league-run charity event at the famed Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York. “I enjoyed walking down the fairways that the big guys walked down last year in the U.S. Open.”
Scottie Upshall recorded 13 points in 18 games as a Flyer last season. (Getty Images)

Upshall has as good a reason as anyone to be primed for the 2007-08 season when he looks up and down the retooled Flyers roster, if only because many of his friends have joined the club since the beginning of free agency on July 1. Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen were Upshall’s teammates in Nashville for the past three years, while Joffrey Lupul and Upshall have been friends since competing against each other as kids in Western Canada.

In fact, it was Upshall who broke the news to his buddy on the day Lupul was traded to Philadelphia from Edmonton, along with Jason Smith, in exchange for Joni Pitkanen and Geoff Sanderson.

“I actually got the call from Derek Settlemyre, our trainer, the day the trade happened. I was standing beside Joff and he had not heard yet,” said Upshall. “Breaking the news to him, he was thrilled, and I could see the look in his eyes. He was pumped, and I was excited to have another buddy come over after getting Scott and Kimmo, because I’m really good friends with them, as well.”

Upshall and Lupul actually lived together one summer, although they have never been teammates on an NHL club. They were both drafted in 2002, back-to-back: Upshall sixth overall to Nashville, and Lupul seventh overall to Anaheim.

“We’re from cities a couple hours apart, but we played against each other as kids growing up and we’ve always been very competitive,” said Upshall of his relationship with Lupul. “We became really good friends playing in the World Juniors together [in 2002]. We lived in the same city throughout the summers for a few years, and were roommates for one summer.”

After joining the Flyers towards the end of last season, Upshall was given an opportunity right away, after not getting as much playing time as he has hoped for on a deep Nashville club. He impressed in his 18 games in the orange and black, scoring 13 points over than span (6G, 7A).

Now, he is eager to build on that early success.

“I was thrilled with the opportunity that I had last year when I came in. I feel like I’ve had a great summer, and I’ve been very focused,” he said. “I know that if I come into camp and play the way I did last year in the last little run and be a contributor, I can help this team to be very successful.”

Of course, with the new additions to the club, being in Philadelphia should be that much more fun for the 23-year-old.

“Just looking around at the names and the guys we have, who are character guys, it’s just going to be an exciting place to play.”
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