Joffrey Lupul’s Russian adventure is over.
That’s what the Toronto Maple Leafs forward told Sportsnet’s Fan 590 on Monday, saying he wouldn’t be returning to KHL Avtomobilist after the holiday break.
“It was probably a little more difficult than I thought, with the language barrier and living in a new country,” Lupul explained. “It was a little worse than I bargained for.”
Avtomobilist was the worst team in the KHL when Lupul arrived…and the worst team when he left. His presence didn’t seem to impact the team’s fortunes, if at all — in nine games he scored just 1G-3A-4PTS, and posted a minus-6 rating.
Lupul says he never truly felt comfortable in Russia and wants to get back to playing in North America.
“My heart’s here. I want to play here,” he said. “I want the season to start back up here, and hopefully I can be part of these meetings and negotiations.”
Oh, and here’s a great excerpt from the Fan 590 interview:
Lupul told The Fan Monday that he was walking down a Russian street with a new teammate and spotted an open man hole in the middle of the street – no cover. The forward suggested that it might be dangerous, that a pedestrian might fall in.
“Yeah, for sure someone will,” responded his KHL teammate.
“They’ll sue someone,” Lupul said.
“No, they don’t really sue people in Russia.”
Lupul probably feels comfortable now that he’s back in North America, where CBA negotiations have become totally litigious.