TORONTO - Unlike teammate Nazem Kadri, Joffrey Lupul didn’t get hats thrown on the ice in his honour on Saturday night. Nor did he receive a subsequent smooch on the cheek from Don Cherry in front of a national television audience.
Those well-earned kudos were reserved for his young linemate, who racked up his second career hat trick in a 4-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place.
At the same time, when it comes to puckering up, Lupul would be well within his rights to tell his critics to kiss his, uh, stats sheet.
These are the same doubters who considered him nothing more than a throw-in during the 2011 trade that brought defence prospect Jake Gardiner to the Maple Leafs from Anaheim for blue liner Francois Beauchemin.
These are the same naysayers who scoffed at Leafs general manager David Nonis for signing him to a five-year contract extension in January at an annual cap hit of $5.25 million, one they claimed was far too lucrative for an