So, my good buddy Joffrey Lupul has finally made it back to the Anaheim Ducks' lineup after a nearly year long battle with a herniated disk and various set backs. As many of you might remember, I took a big, fat swipe at Joff on my very first post on Anaheim Calling.
One of my main arguments was that he wasn't as serious about his recovery as the fans would like him to be. Even with a hole in his back (and a developing infection), he was living in his favorite episode of Entourage. This would have gone unnoticed by me had he not narrated his episode on Twitter.
I was fine with all the REASONABLE arguments against what I was bringing up. Perhaps he was working his ass off, but preferred to tweet (I hate that word) the lighter side of a professional hockey player. That lighter side included pictures as he got ready for St. Patty's Day and later, a White Party with Shane O'Brien and Dustin Penner in tow. I'll say it again, I have nothing against him enjoying the fruits of his years of dedication to hockey. Joff and I are the same age. Hell, if I had $4.5M a year, I'd probably live it up too.Anyways, back to my original post. After a while, it did begin to wear on me. Here was my Pronger-less team struggling. Lupul (and Luca Sbisa for that matter) were supposed to fill part of the big hole in my heart, and all I was getting from Joff was a bunch of smoke blown up my ass. I was in Canada on vacation when he tagged along with the team. I was at a couple of the bars he showed up at. All of this after overcoming the first blood infection. Maybe he did believe he was better-- I'll give him that.
Yet, with satire there is always some grain of underlying truth. Little did I know that my post would elicit a response from Loops. From that moment, I knew I was in his head. No, seriously, I was. There is no possible way that something that sarcastic and bitchy sounding wasn't going to have an impact - satire or not.
Think about it. After my post, Lupul went semi-silent for a bit, most likely because the second blood infection had intensified and left him bed-ridden. Once Loops started to tweet (shudder, still hate that word), he was different. If memory serves me correctly, he started with talking about his golf tournament, and then being optimistic about getting on skates again.
That's when I decided to throw down the gauntlet. He'd read me once, probably doesn't want to read me again, but someone was bound to "re-tweet" what I was about to say. And that, my friends, is how the "Joffrey Lupul Goal Counter" started. I'm an Accountant/Financial Analyst. I don't take risks without doing some serious calculation, on and off the income statement of life.
I knew that it was going to be very unrealistic for Lupul to be ready by the time camp started. I also knew it was highly unlikely he was going to be on the top line, or score a lot with Bobby Ryan centering the third line. I also knew that I called him a "douchebag" a couple months back and he just might be realizing that I was right (stop laughing and play along with me). So, if he was going to read me again, might as well tell him that I also don't think he can score 35 goals in a season, and I was so sure of this fact that I said I would pose in a bikini on the website if he did. The latter is the risk. The reward (for me) if he did score 35? That means the Ducks are getting production out of others. Boom. Upside. Still don't think he can do it though...or do I?
So here we are today. As I write this before the Ducks take on the ‘Yotes, Joffrey Lupul has been activated and is warming up. All signs show he's going to play. I must admit, and I really never thought I'd say this, but I'm a tad bit excited to see if he's still got it...wow and I didn't throw up in my mouth when I typed that.
Right now, Joff has pretty much everyone on his side, hoping he can come back. All that positive energy has got to be a great motivator. Lets hope that this doesn't cause a re-inflation of his ego and suddenly Vinny Chase is back. In my opinion, Lupul got lucky. The Anaheim media is not Philly or Edmonton. As far as I could tell, I was the harshest voice in the crowd, and who am I? Apparently some mentally deranged blogger from a horrible hockey market (thanks Kevin Lowe!)
In all seriousness, he's kinda done 180 from a year ago. Less chauvinism and a little more humility. Perhaps he got a Twitter lesson from his good buddy Bobby Ryan, or the Ducks front office read him the riot act. Maybe the situation has caused him to grow up a little bit. Either way, I'm all for it.
I'm also all for this...anything he does great this season is because of me! I am taking all the credit for his re-dedication to himself and the game that's paying him $4.25M a season. Ok, ok. Maybe it's not all me. I'll go 70/30. 70% me, 30% him.
Best of luck to my BFF Lupul. Here's to you scoring 34.