12.12.2007

What went wrong?



Last night Joffery Lupul was the first Philadelphia Flyer in 10 years to score 6 points in one night. Now, I do not want to open old wounds but, I was wondering why did he have such a bad year last year?


First, I would like to look at his stats from last year compared to this year:

Last year in 81 games Lupul had 16 goals and 12 assists from a grand total of 26 points. He was also a god awful -29.

However, this year in 28 games Lupul has posted 9 goals and 14 assists for 23 points and is +5. That means at his current he is set to have a season of 27 goals and 41 assists for 68 points. That is nearly triple the production from last season.

So now why the sudden jump in production? The main reasons that I have heard are as follows:

1. Playing in the Fish Bowl called Edmonton

Now coming from a team such as the Anaheim Ducks where you could leave the arena and no one would know who you are, to a team such as Edmonton where you could not go and get gas without someone noticing you would be hard for anyone. Now think that you are a 24 year old millionaire who is running around carte blanche with your money and nightlife. Problems in your game will always follow (see Torres and Stoll). As well, the media and fans in Edmonton were on him from the moment that he stepped off the plane. “We got this guy for Pronger”, “Good home-town boy.” Then about 10 games into the season “We are waiting for Lupul to show up.” These are all aspects that could have affected his play.



2. Playing under MacTavish

I believe that the worst thing that a coach can do is what MacTavish does on a constant basis. The MacT blender. He puts lines together for as little as 3 shifts and then starts putting players out in different combinations. A guy like Lupul needs to play with a playmaker or plain and simple he will not score. We saw all last year the play die with Joffery. This seemed due to his inability to create room for himself. However, when in the attacking zone he is able to find spots that goal scorers find to receive passes.

As well, MacT’s offensive system from the last two years is sporadic at best. Some games the Oilers come out hard and forecheck, while other games it seems that if they are not going to be the first one to the puck they peel off and wait for the other team to attempt a break out. Either way one fact rang true, “if you were not defensively responsible” you were bound to ride the pine while Toby the wonder-boy would be getting time on the PP.

3. He came from the Anaheim Ducks

This has been a relatively new argument since Penner arrived in the fact that maybe Duck players are not as well conditioned for the beginning of the season. This could have been a factor as last October and November Lupul registered only 13 points. By that time, with shot confidence, being bounced from line to line, and having fans and media all over him, it might have been too late.

So, what went wrong? No one will likely know. However, I will say that likely you can not single one specific reason, possibly it was. But, I would bet that it was a combination of 2 or possibly all three reasons

3 comments:

Josh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Josh said...

Good interview with Lupul about it:

HERE

Rory said...

I think coming into the spotlight here being center of a trade involving one of the best defencemen to ever play the game was a definite factor in his failure here, so many eyes on him at that age. Few athletes in any sport have the maturity and focus to be successful that young, only guys like Crosby or Lebron James, who are so naturally talented at a young age they had to put up with it early or they would fail.

Mac T also had a bit of a role by not catering to his style of play, but the team had some bad luck early with injuries and a Stanley Cup playoff hangover that hits many teams, everyone performed below expectations last season.

Lupul is still developing and based on how he did in AAA and major junior it will just take a few years before he starts to produce, and this could very well be that year.

It is also possible that he is just a major asshole who did not like certain things about the team or having to play in what some players call the Siberia of the NHL, yes he grew up here but make the pros at that age and play in California for a few seasons can change a person.