Remember when we reacquired Francois Beauchemin from our buddy Brian Burke with the Maple Leafs? That was cool then, but do you remember what we gave up to get him? Joffrey Lupul, prospect Jake Gardiner, and a conditional 2013 draft pick. Looking at the 2010-11 season, that really wasn't a big deal. The Ducks made the playoffs and the Leafs didn't. We solidified a piece of our defense that needed help.
Yeah, so how's that trade feeling now? Gardiner has Cam Fowler wunderkin status in Toronto, I have no idea how we're going to be screwed by the conditional draft pick, and Joffrey Lupul has more points than the Ducks in the standings. Just another way that karma has kicked the Ducks in the eggs this season.
Obviously the trade out of Anaheim has suited young Joff more than it has the Ducks. He has had some strong words in the press ahead of his impending return to Anaheim on Sunday. James Mirtle's article highlighted the obstacles Lupul has had to overcome and it really is quite remarkable. However, Eric Stephen's tweets showed another side of Lupul that came across (to me) as incredibly passive aggressive and bitter.
Ex-Duck Joffrey Lupul on RC: "In my conversation with Randy, he said he didn’t think I had the skill to play left wing in this league."
Lupul: When I came back from injury, they didn’t want me here. It was pretty obvious to me and obvious to the rest of the guys on the team.
WOW, right? While these kinds of quotes make for great blogging fodder, it strikes me as a little sad.
I don't think anyone that reads this site (even me) would disagree that Lupul didn't get a fair shot when he returned from injury. Yet what is being reported is that he was sent to the third line seemingly as some sort of punishment. (Without cheating, who was our consistent 3rd line last year? Exactly.) How quickly minds forget that we had two established - not great - lines by the time Loops returned. His opportunity on the 3rd line was to make the Ducks deeper - not to bash his ego. Did he expect to play with Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu in his first game back or even instantly replace Jason Blake on the line?
Carlyle and Murray didn't give Lupul the appropriate amount of time to get back to NHL gamespeed. Good Lord, the guy was out for a year. You can't expect him to be an All Star after 20-something games. Yet, calling out the coach in the media is just ugly. Carlyle isn't my favorite person, but I'm not a fan of how unprofessional Lupul's approach to tell his side of the story is. Joffrey was already winning the PR battle by having an absolutely incredible season so far. If Carlyle did tell him that he couldn't play on left wing in the league, shame on Randy, but that should be motivation to Lupul to continue to make Carlyle eat his words - in private. With the Ducks drowning in their own pool of shame, Lupul looks even better for getting out before the bomb went off.
Where the Ducks are lucky as a team is that the Southern California media isn't going to jump all over Lupul's statements to Stephens. No one from The LA Times or The Orange County Register is going to ask Corey Perry or Teemu Selanne if they too witnessed what Joffrey is saying they did. I doubt this was a thought of Lupul's when he made his statements, but it's a smart one if he did. His point is out there and no one from the Ducks will react - including Carlyle.
I know I haven't been Joffrey's biggest fan since I started writing here, but I do believe he got screwed by the organization - twice. I'd be just as angry as Loops if I worked my ass off to come back, only to be discarded after a handful of games. Yet, I'd rather go out and score a hat trick on Sunday than complain to a beat writer. So to that I say, you're welcome, Joffrey. You're welcome that our coach didn't see your potential. You're welcome that you were sent to a team where you could play on the top line and not the third. You're welcome that you're in a city that hangs on your every word and treats you like a God.
Now stop being bitter - you won.