Joffrey Lupul

Leafs’ Lupul done with KHL: “It was a little worse than I bargained for”


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.


Yakupov would like to see more towel twirling in the KHL

Kane on KHL stint: “You play six minutes a night and they want you to score three goals a game”

Jason Demers tweets #FreeTorres, gets mocked

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One

Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.

We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.

It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”

Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)

Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.

So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”

… You get the idea.

The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.

The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara

Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.

It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.

The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.

As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.

Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?

The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.

This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.