December 3, 2011
Lupul not star-gazing
By TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency
Joffrey Lupul figured it's great and everything to be named the NHL's third star of the month for November, but he was not about to pop a cork.
"A lot of guys have had one good month before, so I have to take it in stride," the Maple Leafs left winger said. "My linemates have been exceptional. (Tyler) Bozak is playing the best hockey of his career, and Phil (Kessel) has been at a high level all year. It's nice to get the award, but a lot of that credit goes to my linemates.
"I know the month of November had been a hard month for this team (in the past) and we got through it pretty well."
Lupul had 19 points in November, leading all NHL players, as the Leafs went 7-6-1.
The glow that comes from the Leafs' good start overall will lose shine if they again lose to the Bruins in Boston on Saturday night. The Leafs are 0-3 against the Bruins this season, with all losses coming by at least three goals.
"It's rough because now you look at the standings," Lupul said, "and it's us and them at the top (the Leafs have 30 points in the Northeast Division, second to the Bruins' 31). If we had done better in those three games, we would have a cushion right now."
BROWN BACKS OUT
The Leafs will be without right winger Mike Brown, among the team's best forecheckers, for at least another six weeks. Brown, who has not played since Nov. 15 (missing seven games in the process) had surgery on Thursday to repair a disk problem in his back.
Defenceman Mike Komisarek, who suffered a broken arm against the Nashville Predators on Nov. 17, originally was diagnosed to be out 6-8 weeks. But that could be shortened to 4-6 weeks, Wilson said.
Colby Armstrong (ankle) approximately is a week from returning to action, while Matthew Lombardi (shoulder) is 10 days to two weeks from playing again.
DAD'S EYES OPENED
With his 21-year-old son gobbling up minutes on the Leafs' blue line, put John Gardiner in the surprised category.
"Totally," John Gardiner said of his son Jake. "We were just hoping he would make the team, and then when he did, we were hoping he would stay, and now he is playing all these minutes. I'm surprised at how he has adapted."
However, Mr. Gardiner noted, Jake has done this before, just not in the NHL. "He has always had such a big tank," John Gardiner said. "He played 35 minutes a night at Wisconsin. He would be tired, but not falling over tired."
Jake Gardiner is averaging 20 minutes seven seconds a game, but has played more than 23 minutes in each of the past three games.