The relationship between Joffrey Lupul and his former team, the Toronto Maple Leafs has been, at the best of times, a bit tumultuous. And with the winger recently being vocal over social networking, it may be at its worst point ever.
Joffrey Lupul Trips Up, Says Toronto Maple Leafs are Cheaters
Let’s just say his accusations were not received well. And despite the apology which he issued Wednesday evening, the fact of the matter is this: The prospect that he is not in proper shape to play hockey, and thus failed the team physical, does not seem far fetched.
With the Maple Leafs
In Lupul’s six seasons that he played with Toronto, he only had two in which he played more than 55 games; he has always been plagued by the proverbial ‘glass jaw’. That is to say extremely injury prone.
Whether it was the forearm injury in 2013, or the lower body injury in 2015, the forward has a history of problems staying on the ice. That history includes his time with both the Anaheim Ducks and Philadelphia Flyers. It includes a back surgery, and subsequent infection that also kept him out of an NHL line-up for over a year, when he was just a young prospect trying to make it in the NHL. Now in his 30s, the idea that Lupul is less than 100% healthy and ready to go, is not that hard to believe. None of this is to knock his production when he was healthy.
Lupul often provided offensive scoring touch, for a fan base that didn’t have much to root for during his time in Toronto. His most productive offensive year saw him pot 25 goals and 42 assists for 67 points in just 66 games. Point per game production at the NHL level is nothing to scoff at.
However, his overall time in Toronto was viewed by many to be the darkest in the history of the organisation; a regime that was addicted to losing. It was a time where the city turned on the most beloved franchise in the NHL. It was also a tiem when the fractures extended well off the ice and into the locker room.
In many ways Lupul’s presence is a reminder of a repressed memory. It is a reminder of a time that should not have been allowed to happen, and everyone involved is eager to forget.
The Bottom Line
Perhaps his association with this time of the organisation is regrettable. And in a different circumstance, he may have been allowed to thrive. But his inability to stay healthy left a bad taste in the mouths of the fans and organisation.
There is still the prospect that after this season, he will get picked up by another team and revitalise his career. While this likely involves Lupul signing a PTO and heading to someone’s training camp looking for a roster spot next year, it is not out of the realm of possibility.
However, nobody likes the guy who hangs the dirty laundry for everyone to see.
The fact of the matter is this. Lupul tripped up in calling out his team. This will create problems for Lupul not just now, but next summer when he goes looking for another chance in the league. And his career in the NHL may what be the price that he pays for it.
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