Toronto winger Joffrey Lupul was front and center today in the wake of the Nazem Kadri situation, and offered up an interesting parallel when discussing Kadri with reporters.
“This stuff happens — it happened in Winnipeg,” Lupul explained, per TSN. “They were able to get away from it just fine, and control it.”
Lupul is, of course, referencing the Evander Kane situation in Winnipeg, which is a dicey example to throw out. Kane was alleged to have gotten in a dispute with teammates — specifically, Dustin Byfuglien — before reportedly no-showing for a game in Vancouver. That was followed by Kane’s decision to have season-ending shoulder surgery, which was then followed by the Jets shipping him to Buffalo.
Kadri’s situation in Toronto sounds a lot different.
The Leafs forward was made a healthy scratch on Monday after oversleeping and missing Sunday’s team meeting. That was followed by today’s announcement, in which team president Brendan Shanahan tacked on two more games to Kadri’s punishment, saying “there’s more to this, obviously” than just a missed meeting.
Unlike Kane, Kadri looks as though he’ll return to the Toronto lineup this season. And also unlike Kane, Kadri seems to have the backing of teammates, at least publicly — in addition to Lupul, Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf also vowed his support.
Winnipeg hardly showed similar unity in the aftermath of shower-gate; Byfuglien and Blake Wheeler were pretty outspoken in stressing the need for professionalism and following rules, but never said anything about welcoming Kane back, or how good a guy he was.
Based on today’s comments, Lupul and the Leafs genuinely like Kadri.
“Just so the story’s not blown out of proportion, he’s a good guy and a good teammate,” Lupul explained. “It’s not like he’s ever created any problems in here or anything.
“He’s a good guy and one of my good friends, and everyone in here will say the same thing.”