Cam Tucker

Joffrey Lupul
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Report: Lupul (sports hernia) could be placed on injured reserve to begin season

Joffrey Lupul last played an NHL game on Feb. 6, before being shut down for the remainder of last season with a sports hernia injury.

But with training camp set to begin Thursday, his future with the Toronto Maple Leafs isn’t exactly clear following an offseason of uncertainty as he recovered from the injury.

From TSN’s Frank Seravalli:

Lupul returned to Toronto from his off-season home on Sept. 13. Sometime during the last week, it’s believed Lupul underwent a physical examination by Maple Leaf doctors and indications are Lupul was notified he is unfit to play and will be placed on the injured reserve list to begin the season.

Lupul was asked to comment via text message Wednesday and replied he will address the media on Thursday. He has not skated with the group of Maple Leafs informally preparing for training camp daily at the MasterCard Centre.

The Maple Leafs declined comment on Wednesday. A press release from the team said its training camp roster will be released Thursday.

In 46 games last season, the 32-year-old Lupul scored 11 goals and 14 points before he was shut down.

Lupul also has two more years — and a limited no-trade clause — left on his current five-year contract, worth a total value of $26.25 million, as per General Fanager.

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    Team Canada lineup changes: Muzzin, Giroux in; Getzlaf, Weber out

    TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 20: Head coach Mike Babcock of Team Canada yells on the bench while playing Team USA during the World Cup of Hockey at the Air Canada Center on September 20, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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    Team Canada has already clinched a spot in the World Cup semifinals.

    But as they prepare to play in the second half of a back-to-back situation, Canadian head coach Mike Babcock has made some changes to his lineup for Wednesday’s game against Team Europe.

    Both teams are 2-0. Both are moving on to the next round. The winner tonight determines who wins Group A.

    It was already reported yesterday that goalie Carey Price will have the night off, while Corey Crawford starts in goal.

    On Wednesday, it was revealed defenseman Shea Weber and forward Ryan Getzlaf will also sit, according to multiple reports (here and here). Jake Muzzin and Claude Giroux will enter into the lineup.

    Related:

    The biggest reason Canada wins? ‘It’s called players, really good players’

    Here’s what’s at stake in today’s World Cup games

    Team North America defeats Sweden in thrilling OT, forces Russia into must-win game

    TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 21: Nathan MacKinnon #29 of Team North America celebrates his game-winning goal in overtime against Team Sweden during the World Cup of Hockey tournament at the Air Canada Centre on September 21, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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    Team North America is still alive in its quest for a World Cup semifinal berth. And they stay alive following one of the most exciting three-on-three overtime periods you might ever see.

    The final 45 seconds of that extra period was wild.

    The two teams — more specifically, Daniel Sedin for Sweden and Nathan MacKinnon for North America — traded glorious chances in such a short amount of time, bringing the crowd in Toronto to its feet. MacKinnon finally won it, as he dragged the puck to his backhand and beat Henrik Lundqvist top shelf, giving ‘TNA’ a crucial 4-3 victory.

    The opportunity on Lundqvist presented itself after Johnny Gaudreau, who was sensational throughout the entire game, stripped Daniel Sedin of the puck as Sweden was trying to counter attack. The puck found its way to MacKinnon, who was left all alone.

    You know the rest.

    My goodness. What an overtime period.

    John Gibson had some shaky moments in this game, but he also came up big with a breakaway stop on Daniel Sedin in the OT.

    That’s an important win for the young North American squad. They move to 2-1 in the tournament, with four points. They’re certainly in for a stressful 24 hours or so, but they have forced Russia into a must-win versus Finland on Thursday.

    If Russia cannot beat Finland, then North America advances.

    A regulation win would’ve been much better, as North America would’ve clinched a semifinal berth in that situation. And they certainly got off to the perfect start, with Auston Matthews scoring 30 seconds in and Gaudreau awarded a penalty shot — he was unsuccessful in his attempt — 26 seconds later.

    But Sweden managed to come back, tying the game on a goal from Patrik Berglund early in the third period.

    The single point means Sweden clinches top spot in Group B with a 2-0-1 record and five points, and a berth in the semifinals.

    Canucks’ Virtanen knows spending time in the AHL is a possibility

    Jake Virtanen
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    The Vancouver Canucks had options last season when it came to Jake Virtanen. They ultimately came down to this: Send him back to junior, or keep him with the big club.

    He wasn’t eligible to be sent to the minors last season, so the Canucks chose the latter, as Virtanen spent the entire season — with the exception of the world juniors — in the NHL. The sixth-overall pick in 2014, Virtanen scored seven goals and 13 points in 55 games.

    A developing power forward capable of being physical and going to the net, conditioning was a real point of emphasis for Virtanen heading into his offseason workouts.

    Now 20 years old, however, he knows he may be asked to spend some time this season working on his game in the minors, which puts the onus on him to not only be in top physical shape when camp begins, but to show he’s capable of producing more at the big-league level.

    “This year I could be going to Utica or staying in Vancouver. But … I’m not going to focus on Utica. I’m just going to focus on playing in Vancouver,” Virtanen told TSN 1040 radio on Wednesday.

    “I don’t have anything else on my mind.”

    The Canucks have numerous veteran players listed as right wingers, including Loui Eriksson and Jannik Hansen, heading into camp. They also have Anton Rodin, a left-shooting right winger, who enters camp as something of a wild card. He could also crack this lineup with a good preseason.

    There is competition at right wing heading into camp, and Virtanen will need to prove he can help the Canucks win, which was the message from head coach Willie Desjardins earlier in the summer.

    “I think Willie and the management are going to have me held a little bit more accountable. I’ve got to get out there and they’re going to expect more from me,” said Virtanen.

    “I’ve got to go out there and show I belong.”

    Video: Johnny Hockey’s sweet breakaway move completely fools Lundqvist

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    Johnny Gaudreau couldn’t beat Henrik Lundqvist on a penalty shot 56 seconds into Wednesday’s World Cup game between Team North America and Team Sweden.

    But the skilled Calgary Flames forward got his revenge.

    Later in the opening period, Gaudreau was sent in on another breakaway, this time deking to his forehand and completely fooling Lundqvist, the veteran goalie. The goal gave North America a 3-1 lead late in the opening period.

    The first period ended with ‘TNA’ leading Sweden 3-2, after a very entertaining 20 minutes of hockey that saw both teams combine for 32 shots on goal.

    Team North America came flying out of the gate, with Auston Matthews scoring 30 seconds in.

    Gaudreau, who is still a restricted free agent and reportedly asking for around $8 million a season, followed that up with his penalty shot attempt before the game was even a minute old.

    Related:

    Here’s what’s at stake in today’s World Cup games