Joffrey Lupul has returned from Russia for the holidays and it appears he won’t be going back. Lupul told Sportsnet 590 earlier this week that his time in the KHL has come to an end. He was playing for Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, who currently sit in last spot in the entire league. Lupul had one goal and three assists in nine games for Yekaterinburg.
Despite the culture shock in Russia and playing on a team sitting in the league’s basement, Lupul had other reasons for returning to North America. The Maple Leafs forward indicated he intends to be an active part of future meetings and negotiations that have to do with the lockout. Lupul added that he feels the majority of players support Donald Fehr and are happy with the way he is handling things.
With the announcement today that all games will be cancelled through January 14th, the players and owners may be realizing that the next round of discussions might be the final opportunity to salvage some sort of season.
Lupul also made headlines earlier this week when he tweeted that he wasn’t permitted to dine at the MLSE owned Real Sports restaurant during the lockout. He added that the establishment still had no issue selling $300 Leaf jerseys though. Lupul later removed the tweet and apologized for using Twitter as a forum to express his displeasure with the situation.
He also participated in Steven Stamkos’ charity game on Wednesday at Maple Leaf Gardens. Lupul was reunited with linemate Phil Kessel for the contest.