Lupul returns to Anaheim

Edmonton Oilers' Joffrey Lupul (right) will return to Anaheim and face the Ducks for the first time...

Edmonton Oilers' Joffrey Lupul (right) will return to Anaheim and face the Ducks for the first time since he was traded in the offseason for Chris Pronger. (Edmonton Sun File/Darryl Dyck)

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:18 AM ET

ANAHEIM -- "Gosh, I hope I don't walk into the wrong dressing room."

Joffrey Lupul, thankfully, passed on the pat answers yesterday when asked what'll be going on in his gut tonight when he faces the Anaheim Ducks as a member of the Oilers for the first time.

Yes, Lupul still has friends playing for the Ducks, the team that selected him seventh overall in the 2002 Entry Draft and the organization with which he toiled for his first 156 NHL games.

No, Lupul won't accidentally walk into Anaheim's dressing room at the Honda Center, where Chris Pronger will be holding court, for the morning skate today. You think he - Lupul, not Pronger - is a moron, or what?

LIGHT IT UP

What's more, Lupul would like nothing more than to light up J.S. Giguere like a cheap cigar tonight and help the Oilers deliver the Ducks their first loss of this season. He'd like to make a statement to everybody watching, Brian Burke included.

"I don't think it will be weird. It'll be exciting," Lupul says. "It's a game I've had circled on my calendar since the day the schedule came out. I've been thinking about it a lot.

"There's nothing I'd like to do more than go in there and score a couple of goals and beat them."

Lupul, 23, didn't start spewing smack when asked about facing his old team. That's not his style. At the same time, Lupul's tone reflected his take on what happened this off-season, after Pronger's wife, Lauren, wanted to leave Edmonton.

Burke jumped at the chance to get Pronger when GM Kevin Lowe sought to accommodate the former Norris Trophy winner and Lupul, supposedly one of the building blocks for the future on Disney's doorstep, was offered up along with Ladislav Smid.

A BETTER TEAM

"I understand what the trade was about," Lupul says. "They're trying to make the team better. They had an opportunity to get one of the best players in the league. They traded me. There's no hard feelings.

"On the other hand, there's a bit of the feeling that you want to show them they made a bad decision.

"I definitely want to go in there and I want to win. That's No. 1, but I want to have a good game."

Deals like the one that landed Lupul in his hometown with the Oilers are part of the business. Lupul has no problem with that.

"I won't say that I've forgotten, but I've put Anaheim behind me," Lupul says. "I've got a lot of good friends there who I still keep in touch with and I root for them. I hope they do well. I hope they finish behind us and lose to us in the playoffs."

While most eyes will be on Pronger, Lupul's perspective is as relevant. Besides, Pronger isn't talking - not about what we want to know. Maybe he will when the Ducks play at Rexall Nov. 28.


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