SUN Hockey Pool

Lowe to Lupul: Get grumpy

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

ST. PAUL -- What about Joffrey?

While Edmonton Oilers GM Kevin Lowe has several forwards to worry about in terms of offensive production, he knows what he'd like to see from Joffrey Lupul when the puck's not going in the net.

"He's got to start getting grumpy," Lowe said. "He's got to start getting grumpy around the net, making other people pay. Create scoring areas, be a little more dominant in front of the net."

Lupul, 23, has scored 12 goals, but just one in his last 10 games. Lupul, the main player Lowe got from Anaheim in the Chris Pronger trade, scored 28 goals with the Ducks last season.

"Try to take a page out of Ryan's (Smyth) book," Lowe said. "Get some goals that way. It's amazing when one goes in. Then, all of a sudden, the net appears bigger for goal-scorers."

With the benefit of hindsight, some fans want to know why Lowe didn't go after somebody like Ryan Getzlaf, who has 19 goals and 31 points, or big Dustin Penner, who has 16 goals and 26 points, instead of Lupul in the package that also landed Ladislav Smid.

"My response to that is it's too soon," said Lowe, asked if he's disappointed in Lupul. "I'm not quick to judge on anyone. Certainly, probably Laddy overachieved in our estimation for the year and Lupes has been a little bit back of expectations, but it's his second full year in the league, you know?"

NUMBERS GAME: Unless Smyth can strike a deal, he'll have to find another number for the NHL all-star game because Yanic Perreault of the Phoenix Coyotes also wears No. 94 and he's got seniority in terms of games. Smyth, 30, faces Minnesota tonight with 752 games in the books. Perreault, also added to the Western Division team, has 772. If Perreault wants to wear his usual number, he'll get it.

AROUND THE RINK: Defenceman Steve Staios (knee) didn't make the trip ... Tom Gilbert could draw back in on defence tonight, possibly in place of Mathieu Roy.


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