Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Everybody Hates Joffrey

Lowetide and Vic and Tyler have all weighed in on Joffrey Lupul in the last few days and today Dan Barnes piles on. He basically points out a lot of what has been pointed out at those aforementioned sites.

Lupul is young.

He is struggling.

Big time.

Lowetide has been his most ardent defender in the Oilogosphere. Check out the thread on Tyler's post where words like "pussy", "no balls", "no courage" etc are being thrown around. Lowetide stands up for the kid with some salient points. Its way early in his career. This is the first time he's faced these expectations. Goalscorers, in many cases, take a while to get their shit together (my own examples Guy Lafleur and Cam Neely). Its politics and optics colouring everyone's view of the kid.

Barnes points out something that is in question - Lupul's ability to handle the pressure of playing in Edmonton. Joffrey says so himself - as he has before - playing in Edmonton is nothing like playing in Anaheim.

And the pressure is there. Because he was traded for Chris Pronger. Becuase the three other youngsters on Anaheim, Penner, Perry and Getzlaf, are tearing it up. Because he was given a spot with Smyth and Horcoff to start the season and failed to produce. (He's now on the fourth line). Because he is making good coin. Because he is paid to score goals and he is not.

Now players have been in and out of the doghouse already this year. First it was the peripheral players like Winchester and Bergeron. Then Torres who was busted down to the fourth line himself. Struggling veterans like Smith and Horcoff. Guys who could do a little more, like Stoll.

The differences between Lupul and these guys. A couple. First of all, these guys were on last season's magical squad. Fernando Pisani makes 200K more then Lupul and has fewer goals but without Fernando we don't even get to Carolina. We might not even get to San Jose. Pisani, Smith, Horcoff - these guys are going to get cut a lot of slack. A lot.

Secondly, nobody can question the intangibles for these guys (Well, Winchester is figuring it out still). Horc may not be scoring but he's busting his ass and doing everything he can. You might question Bergeron's brains but you can't question his heart or toughness. And so on.

Pisani may score 18 goals again, no more, no less. But the guy kills penalties, plays the tough minutes, does whatever it takes to win. Work work work work work.

And that's Lupul's problem. He doesn't kill penalties. He doesn't know what to do in his own end. But worst of all, he looks like he doesn't care.

He does, I'm sure of that. But he hasn't figured out that if you're a goalscorer who isn't scoring and you don't do much of anything else, well you'd better be out there busting your hump and getting your nose dirty. Because if you're not even doing that, what's the use of you?


Art Vandelay said...

Joffrey Gelinas will never be able to escape the taint of being the consolation prize for a star player whose wife (allegedly) engineered his way out of town. Oiler brass, undertandably, will not cop to the fact that it had zero leverage and, as such, did as well as possible under the circumstances.

Andy Grabia said...

You missed a giant stinker tonight, Pat. Lupul played well, though, and Hemsky was dancing.

Brian said...

I prefer Joffrey Klima, personally.

Then again, at least Klima scored occasional goals when it actually mattered.

I know that Joffrey scored last night...

I still hate him. I don't think even Dennis can touch me ;)


Black Dog said...

PDO - If if if Lupul can get it together and score 40 consistently at some point (or wins some playoff games here and there) I'll bet you'd get over your hate. ;)

He has a long way to go and I don't know if he can handle the pressure (the look of absolute relief on his face after he scored last night was amazing) of playing in his hometown.

I just want the guy to score goals - would I prefer that he be gritty as Ryan Smyth? Absolutely. And he might grow into that type of player. But if not, as long as he scores goals (and a tying goal in big comeback in a divisional game is a start) then I'll take the bad with the good.

Anonymous said...

black dog - I'd settle for Lupul growing into as gritty a player as Sykora. He should spend some time rubbin his melon against Petr's so he lears to think the game better.

In Loop's defense, he does get in the odd game where he seems to get it. Hopefully, that is a sign that it's a learning process that he will eventually master, and we have reason to hope.