Scottie Upshall was only a Coyote for a brief time. He never played a full season with the Yotes, as he was acquired in a trade deadline deal from Philadelphia (along with a draft pick that became Lucas Lessio) for Daniel Carcillo on March 4, 2009. He missed much of the following season due to injury and then was traded to Columbus as part of a package for Rusty Klesla on February 28, 2011.
In total, Upshall played 129 games with the Coyotes over parts of those three seasons. He scored 42 goals and added 30 assists to total 72 points during that time, although he never was able to play a postseason game for Phoenix. Scottie provided the Coyotes with the best hockey of his career, as his time in the number 8 sweater with Phoenix saw him put up his best goals and points per game numbers over his career. He was a scrappy, feisty player with above average speed who provided the Coyotes with production as a first, second or even third line winger.
The native of Fort McMurray, Alberta Canada had his most memorable Coyote moment on January 21, 2010 against the team that drafted him and he actually broke into the NHL with. Phoenix was finishing a six game home stand on this evening by hosting the Nashville Predators.
The Coyotes scored first on a marker by Matthew Lombardi in the second period but, later in the frame, Nashville would score two goals in less than a minute to take a 2-1 lead into the third. Unbeknownst to the world, the Scottie Upshall show was about to begin.
A little over four minutes into the final period saw Upshall gain the zone with help from a Shane Doan drop pass. Scottie would wind-up a short slap shot from just above the left circle that would elude Dan Ellis to tie the game at deuces. The contest remained deadlocked for the next nine minutes until number 8 struck again.
Lombardi gained space below the Predator goal line skating toward the net. Instead of continuing to skate behind the cage, the former Coyote pivot passed the puck to Upshall low in the left slot. Ellis made the initial save, but Scottie kept fighting and would use some incredible leverage to elevate the rebound past Ellis' blocker to give the Coyotes a 3-2 advantage. The ensuing goal celebration was almost Eruzione-esque as Upshall skated a beeline to the boards, arms pumping before slamming chest first into the glass. It was an example of the passion he plays with, but would not be his most memorable show of exuberance on this night.
Just over a minute later, Nashville controlled the puck in the Coyote zone until a slap shot from the blueline was blocked. Upshall fled the zone as Martin Hanzal gained control of the puck and chipped a pass towards the streaking number 8 at center ice. Scottie controlled the puck, and made a nifty shift to his backhand that allowed him to slide the puck through Ellis' legs to complete the natural hat trick.
The resulting euphoria is still one of my all time favorite Coyotes moments as Upshall skated back toward the blueline and leaped into the arms of Coyote defenseman Jim Vandermeer. Vandermeer caught Upshall and would fall onto his rear sitting with Scottie more or less in his lap, arms raised with a shout of joy. The camera would catch Coyote Captain Shane Doan on the bench, beaming from ear to ear, relishing the joy almost as much as Upshall.
It was Scottie Upshall's first hat trick, and still the only one he has earned so far in his NHL career. Doan had three assists on the night as the Desert Dogs won 4-2. It was the 300th career NHL victory for Coyote coach Dave Tippett. Above all else, it was confirmation of the joy of hockey. Relive it now.