Lupul's lockjaw subsides day after deal

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:51 AM ET

Former Oiler Joffrey Lupul developed a case of lockjaw in Edmonton, going underground and refusing comment upon being traded to the Flyers, but he did agree to a conference call with the Philadelphia media.

There were no secrets revealed in the Pennsylvania conference call, though. Lupul told them what he told us all season: He just couldn't get it going in his hometown, and that's why he's done.

"I was coming off the playoffs in Anaheim where I thought I played the best hockey I ever played," said Lupul, who expected to resume the roll here, but couldn't.

"Things didn't seem right from the get-go there.

"I just couldn't find my niche that made me successful the year before. I got frustrated and then confidence became a factor. Everything snowballed and it became a nightmare season."

General manager Kevin Lowe delivered the wake-up call with the trade east.

Lupul, who'll be in a lineup that includes Daniel Briere, Scott Hartnell, Scottie Upshall, and Kimmo Timonen, is as motivated as he's ever been.

"I can't wait to get back to prove myself again."

Flyers GM Paul Holmgrem, who's virtually rebuilt the Flyers overnight, told Philly reporters that Lupul simply collapsed under the pressure of playing in front of hometown fans at a young age, but Lupul wasn't looking for any built-in excuses.

"I would never use that as an excuse for struggles," he said.

MONEY MATTERS ...

The Oilers landed Dick Tarnstrom for $2 million this season while Denis Grebeshkov will earn $950,000.


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