Tuesday, December 19, 2006
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.
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?
Posted by Black Dog at 12:30 PM