Joffrey Lupul

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End of Leafs’ LTIR drama? Lupul reportedly fails another physical

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It looks like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks can both let out sighs of relief regarding prominent players and LTIR.

Reports indicate that Marian Hossa will indeed go to LTIR, and reporters including Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston pass along word that the same appears to be true regarding Joffrey Lupul.

In fact, NHL executive Bill Daly confirmed that Lupul failed his second, independent physical, so to LTIR goes his $5.25 million cap hit:

To understate things, the situation got a little contentious between Lupul and the Maple Leafs. He called Toronto out in an Instagram post for “cheating,” although he apologized a few days later.

Lupul turned 34 in late September. His contract expires after 2017-18, so it’s at least conceivable that he could play again. Seeing him fail multiple physicals doesn’t make that possibility seem any less remote. It says a lot that he’s suffered enough ailments that he could be sidelined for a number of reasons.

If this is it for Lupul, credit the winger for being more than “that guy who was involved in a weird number of Chris Pronger trades.” Lupul enjoyed a couple strong postseason runs, made an All-Star roster, and generated 420 points during his career.

There will be the thought of what could have been (both during his injury-ravaged playing days and in these years when he hasn’t played at all), but Lupul should keep his head held high.

And, hey, Twitter needs levity at this time, so he inadvertently contributes in that regard, too.

Report: Blackhawks allowed to place Marian Hossa on LTIR

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The Chicago Blackhawks will be allowed to place veteran forward Marian Hossa on injured reserve, according to Scott Power of The Athletic.

This offseason, the Blackhawks raised some eyebrows when they placed Hossa on the long-term injured list because of a skin disorder.

There was skepticism surrounding the move because Hossa, who has a cap hit of $5.275 million, is “only” scheduled to make $1 million per year starting this season.

Eventually, after the announcement was made, everyone moved on to something else until Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul wrote about the Maple Leafs cheating on player physicals. Lupul had just failed his physical and the Leafs were set to put him on long-term IR so that his salary wouldn’t count towards their salary cap.

Lupul backtracked as best he could, but it was too late, as the NHL decided to do their own investigation into his failed physical and Hossa’s inability to suit up.

The NHL had an independent physician take a deeper look into Hossa’s case, and it looks like they’ll be able to sit him out for as long as they have to.

The ‘Hawks are over the salary cap by over $500,000, so this definitely benefits them.

Related:

Hossa was a “special player” and the ‘Hawks are going to miss him

Report: Lupul will have ‘independent medical exam’

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Joffrey Lupul issued a statement Wednesday, saying he wouldn’t seek a second medical opinion after the Maple Leafs announced he didn’t pass his training camp physical.

A day later, reports have surfaced that the 33-year-old forward will, in fact, undergo another, independent medical test.

That is according to James Mirtle of The Athletic:

Earlier this week, Lupul made accusations against the Maple Leafs on Instagram.

“I’m ready … just awaiting the call,” Lupul wrote in the comments section of the Instagram post, per a screen grab. “haha failed physical? They cheat. Everyone lets them.”

Lupul, who didn’t pass his physical for a second year in a row, issued an apology yesterday. But those comments — which have since been deleted — seem to have grabbed the attention of the league.

Darren Dreger of TSN added to that, saying it’s the NHL pursuing a second medical opinion on this matter.

“The National Hockey League has that right to pursue the second opinion. That’s exactly what they’re engaging in right now,” Dreger reported Thursday.

“The reasoning behind it is because of the comment that Lupul made on social media. I’ll go back a year ago. The league didn’t step in a year ago but Lupul stayed quiet at that point. So they want to make sure — ‘They’ being the National Hockey League — that the medical evaluation from the Toronto Maple Leafs is 100 per cent above the board.”

Lupul apologizes, takes ‘full responsibility’ after calling out Maple Leafs on Instagram

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Joffrey Lupul made headlines earlier this week after appearing to make accusations against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Instagram.

The comments — which have since been deleted but caught on a screen grab — came after the Maple Leafs announced Lupul failed his physical prior to training camp for the second year in a row.

“I’m ready … just awaiting the call,” Lupul wrote in the comments section of the Instagram post, per the screen grab. “haha failed physical? They cheat. Everyone lets them.”

On Wednesday, the 33-year-old forward, who hasn’t played since the 2015-16 season, posted a statement on his verified Twitter account, saying his Instagram comments were an “inappropriate response.”

Here is his entire statement:

What’s also significant is that he stated he will not seek a second medical opinion regarding this failed physical. As previously noted, that option was available to him, although, per reports, the deadline for this was 5 p.m. on Thursday.

Lupul is in the final year of his five-year, $26.25 million contract.

Joffrey Lupul faces Thursday deadline to seek second medical opinion

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Look, if Joffrey Lupul doesn’t take a more official step to play hockey, it doesn’t mean that he was totally bluffing in his since-deleted Instagram complaint about his failed physical with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It could just mean that Lupul doesn’t want to jump through the hoops needed to make it happen.

Still, the option is out there, whether it’s an unpleasant route or not. And Lupul wouldn’t have much time to make something happen.

Multiple reporters note that the CBA allows Lupul, 33, to seek a second medical opinion regarding his failed physical, which would land him on the Leafs’ LTIR.

Again, though, he wouldn’t have long to make that decision; TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that Lupul’s deadline is Thursday at 5 p.m. ET.

Now, he could theoretically go that route, but note that getting the decision overturned doesn’t necessarily guarantee Lupul a whole lot. TSN’s Bob McKenzie doubts that Lupul will go for it because, even if deemed healthy enough to play, the Maple Leafs might just demote him to the AHL, anyway.

Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston goes deep on this issue here – including how Lupul might truly feel about his situation – while noting that the Maple Leafs, as an organization, are generally going the “no comment” route.

Johnston also quotes former teammates who believe that Lupul isn’t ready to hang up his skates just yet.

“I think he wants to play hockey and I think he believes he still has the ability to play hockey,” Tyler Bozak said. “It’s something I think he’s striving for.”

If Lupul’s Instagram beef ends up being fruitless, there’s another option, even if it’s not the most appetizing. Lupul could stay in shape to the best of his ability over the next year, and then try to land a spot on an NHL roster next summer, as his current contract expires after 2017-18.

That would amount to a lot of time away from NHL rinks, yet we’ve seen similar situations before, even if it would mean accepting a PTO like Ryan Malone surprisingly did this summer.

Overall, it’s understandable that Lupul is frustrated. There’s only so much he can do about it, really, and his current option might not really open the doors he wants to walk through, anyway.

It makes you wonder if issues like his might be part of the next CBA discussions.