You can spell his surname backwards or forwards, but the loss of the Leafs’ palindrome is now a conundrum.
Much of Toronto’s offensive success depended on a big year from winger Joffrey Lupul, who was on a point-a-game pace last season before the injury bug knocked him and the Leafs from the playoff race.
This year was going to be different, with Lupul carefully preparing himself for a big season on and off the ice, embracing his role in a market in need of a ‘presence’ player. But the ink was hardly dry on last Sunday’s new $26.25-million deal when Lupul got in the way of a Dion Phaneuf drive that broke his forearm. Six weeks is the estimated recovery.
Clarke MacArthur has been given the first chance to replace him, James van Riemsdyk would be next. But since Lupul was hurt, Phil Kessel has still not scored and the Leafs had no physical reply for teams such as the Rangers and their group of six-foot-plus power forwards.