LUPUL: ‘IT WAS ME’

Edmonton will be glad to know that the break-up with Joffrey Lupul six years ago wasn’t your fault.

As he puts it: It’s not you it’s me.

Lupul was a disaster when he made his Edmonton homecoming in the ill-fated Chris Pronger trade. He couldn’t turn a wheel offensively (28 points in 81 games after 53 in 81 the year before in Anaheim) and seemed to spend every game trying to stickhandle around the pressure. He lasted one year in Oilers colours before Edmonton sent him to Philadelphia.

“I was just a young player 21 or 22 then” said the 30-year-old whose career is taking off in Toronto.

“A lot of things can go wrong when you’re a young player in this league. It’s not an easy thing.

“That’s all I’d attribute that to. But I’d also say it’s a learning experience. I certainly learned some lessons that year that have helped me at this stage of my career things I can pass on to young guys who are struggling in their second and third year.

“It’s not an easy league to have success in year in and year out.”

Injuries and a suspected lack of focus got him in and out of doghouses in Anaheim and Philadelphia after he left Edmonton but he’s become a point-per-game player in Toronto showing them enough to put an A on his sweater and sign him to a five-year $26.25-million contract.

“Age and maturity and I really like playing here” he said when asked why playing in Toronto seems to agree with him so much.