When Lupul Gets Back is a Nice Problem

Posted: 11/30/2010 by bc in Uncategorized

Friday night as our Ducks battle the Red Wings, Joffrey Lupul will play his third and final game for the Crunch.

GM Bob Murray has said he doesn’t want to rush Loops. Technically, the conditioning stint can be extended two games for the asking, but why? Lupul has passed every test. Incredibly, amazingly. My previous report is accurate. Scientifically speaking, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, Joffrey Lupul should not be playing hockey at this level.

So now  it’s time to celebrate and consider the eventuality rather than the possibility of Joffrey Lupul’s return to our Ducks and the NHL. That eventuality could be as soon as this Sunday against the Phoenix Coyotes.

The obvious is to put Loops back with the Twins, Bobby Ryan with the Finns and flip Blakey to RW, where RC thinks he’s best BTW, alongside Bonino & McMillan. Big Sexy is back in Syracuse under this scenario.

Do we really want to breakup the Masterton Line?

The less obvious is put Loops on the third line with Bonino & McMillan. Having a genuine proven sniper just might be what the doctor ordered for Nick Bonino and mucker Brandon McMillan.

These are just a couple of the even strength considerations. What about the PP units? A forward on the point worked okay alongside Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer. A forward on the blue line has proven to be an Elmer without one of the Norris winners. Besides Andy Sutton has the shot we’re looking for from the point.

One thing is certain, Elmer is going to be in Fudd heaven with his extra match up options.

No matter how you slice it, our Ducks will have a $4 million+ contract logging third line minutes. That’s going to drive the numbers guys at the Honda Center nuts.

How nuts? You may as well tie an engineer to a chair and leave a map unfolded and out of reach in front of him kind of nuts. It’s John Ahlers with a hair out-of-place and no makeup kind of nuts.

I keep reading Ryan alongside Bonino & McMillan and while that’s interesting the check writers will be reaching for oxygen. Five million and change on the third line? Not sure I want the job of  ‘splaining that one.

Here’s another certainty, with a caveat, Lupul must create enough scoring to kick our Ducks P% from the current .529 to up over .600, otherwise expect a trade.

I’m guessin’ a Lupul for a Bryan McCabe, Kevin Bieksa or Jack Johnson type deal or something bigger.

No idea on who bigger might be, I’m a huge fan of Vancouver’s Alexander Edler but he’s probably untouchable.

The Caps are obviously  going for it with the trade of the young Tomas Fleischmann for Avs Scott Hannan. Could they be enticed to trade 20-year-old D-man John Carlson. Mike Knuble is having a rough year.

Something like:

To Anaheim: John Carlson, Mike Knuble, Michael Nylander.

To Washington: Joffrey Lupul, Andreas Lilja.

Of course trading Lupul is purely hypothetical and based solely on the idea that his scoring has no appreciable difference on our won/lost record.

  1. czhokej says:

    What about another option: bring back Beleskey, and create the third line with Bobby R., Lupul and Sexton?

  2. BackCheck says:

    Wow, great idea. Just guessin’ it would be McMillan in place of Belesky though. Got a Ryan Whitney, “They love you then sour on you” ringing in my ears.

  3. czhokej says:

    Yes, it is sad to see so many players come and go after a short stay. A fan develops an emotional bond with a promising new member of the team, and after a while the same person in a different jersey is playing against us. Some people get just a few chances to demonstrate their skills, and always with different linemates, under pressure.
    I guess it’s so easy to fall into disfavor….

  4. bbdux93 says:

    Even Carlyle could not be dumb enough to break up our 2nd line. I was a fan when, for too long, we had one line – it was ugly! With our first line not scoring and our 2nd line our main offense – even that blind squirrel you’ve mentioned – wouldn’t pass up the obvious. – I hope!

  5. Wrong side of the Atlantic says:

    On the basis of putting our best six forwards on the top two lines – to break up the Masterton line might actually be to improve it though? Ryan or Lupul with Koivu and Selanne could be better than the current version of the 2nd line.

    So, how would Lupul be with Koivu and Selanne, or is it just not a good fit?

    I like cz’s line suggestion but surely it means Ryan at center, RC didn’t seem to like this?

    • BackCheck says:

      Hey Wrong Side of the Atlantic,

      My head is with you but sometimes the heart has to be dragged along kicking and rebelling. Blake works so hard well…..you know, must be the Magna Carta inspired fairness thing in me 🙂

      • Wrong side of the Atlantic says:

        haha…the Magna Carta… now thats a really interesting bit of history!

        But what about Lupul’s rights?! I love Blake’s effort too and I’ve really wanted him to do well – but two games ago there’s no doubt we need Lupul’s potential goals instead of Blake’s effort and near misses… just so happens that in this moment in time Blake’s on a scoring tear!!

        At least we know RC will shuffle things so it’ll give an opportunity to re-assess who should go where based on more, and current, evidence.

      • BackCheck says:

        Hey Wrong Side of the Atlantic,

        Check out ffe155’s idear Bonino-Ryan-Lupul. This thread just keeps getting better.

        Personal Note: History buff? Among my occasional indulgences is to revisit the quotes and anecdotes of Sir Winston Churchill. Politics aside, that man was hilarious.

  6. ffe155 says:

    I’m all for creating 3rd line scoring depth and creating match up challenges for the Ducks opponents. Putting Lupul or even Ryan with some of the youngsters may help speed their development, better balance the TOI between the lines, and provide some real long term benefits. If this really is Selanne’s last year some one is going to have to be ready to step up to the top 6 next year. Blake and Koivu aren’t getting any younger either.

    BackCheck – I cringe at the thought of another look at a forward on the point of the PP. I like the trend of more PP TOI for Sbisa. Maybe Lupul for Blake on the 2nd PP unit.

    • BackCheck says:

      Hey ffe155,

      Just curious, what’s the significance in your handle ffe155? Some are obvious but Buick22 had me stumped too. Buick is the name of his Great Dane. And 22 is for T-bone.

      Blake & Koivu have another year left on their contracts. The timing is perfect for Nick Bonino to develop and step into the 2nd line center spot. The org seems to be that high on him. I’d second it.

      Our Ducks are loaded on the wings and yeah we’ll miss Teemu eventually. His intangibles, character, spirit, passion and pure joy for the game, are irreplaceable. One thing I’ve always admired about Teemu is that his smile seems wider when somebody else scores than it is for one of his 614 and counting.

      Sbisa and/or Sutton on the PP works for me. Andy has a real heavy shot that goalies feel through their pads.

  7. ffe155 says:


    OK, I’ll blow my cover. I’m an old artillery gunner. FFE stands for Fire for Effect, the artillery term used to bring all guns to bear on a target. 155mm is the standard NATO cannon caliber.

    I like Bonino too and wouldn’t mind seeing him given a chance to center Ryan and Lupul. I have never been a big fan of the RPG line for many of same reasons that you and others have mentioned in the past.

    • BackCheck says:

      Hey ffe155,

      I haven’t served but I thank and honor you for your service. Recently, in conjunction with our Ducks Veterans Appreciation Day I donated 96 hours of service to Operation Homefront. Thanks for reminding me. I have to fill out an application and send it in for the background check.

      Yup, Bonino-Ryan-Lupul makes the most sense. so long as the TOI is relatively even among the top 3 lines. So here’s what we have, C-LW-RW, so far:

      Koivu-Blake-Selanne/ Lydman-Visnovsky

      Anybody have another idea? So far it just keeps looking better. See what you started here cz 😉

      Note: Those D pairings are what Carlye has used the past two games.

  8. buick22 says:

    Okay, I can’t sit this out anymore: Masterton-leave it alone, they are better with Blake than without, he was a super puck thief vs the Kings!!!! Lupul remains to be seen if he can deliver at NHL level after 365 day sabbatical, so I defer to his results in SYR first. Please explain why Bonino and McMillan continue to impress so many, when they seem invisible except when losing the puck at center ice or on the boards..I will say they are getting better, but why are they not the fourth line, in terms of TOI?? Sexton could use a Bodie sized player on his line, he gets abused a lot. I really liked Parros Marchant and Chip together..and finally Perry is the most underrated player we take for granted…Perry is always there..stick tap to his courageous forays into the opposition crease.

    Let the critique begin..

    • BackCheck says:

      Critique Buick22? How ’bout a chat Bud? Just not in the mood for a critique. BTW, love cz’s phrase “contemplative negativist.” Hockey is a game of fewest mistakes.

      w/o agreeing or disagreeing that the Marchant line should see more TOI than the Bonino line here’s some ideas. First if the Marchant line continues last night’s success they will see more TOI.

      The other reason we’re not seeing the 4th line exceed the TOI of the 3rd line is because we don’t want to demote the kids. Their progress is measured incrementally in baby steps but is measurable nonetheless. Bonino has been stronger on the puck and is recording more hits.

      McMillan is getting beat in the one on one’s and at the game within the game but it’s not hurting the team because of strong support and positional play. so he’s learning without really hurting the team.

      Big Sexy? SHEESH!!! If that guy starts burying half of his chances he’s a 40 goal scorer in the NHL. And right there I think is your answer or at least why Carlyle is giving the kids double digits minutes per game.

      They are creating opportunities. The hope is they start finishing those opportunities soon. If they weren’t bringing us out of our seats a couple-3 times per game then….yeah…you’ll see them sitting or in Syracuse.

  9. buick22 says:

    I will keep watching them, and cheering. They sometimes disappear out there, it seems Sexton is always alone, and Bonino is passing to nobody, or losing the puck at the half wall or sooner…I hope they break out soon. Tthey have had some good chances, but not very many. We can afford to let them nurture their talents during the season against some teams, …sure they looked good vs the Panthers, but the Wings are coming, and they will be expose any shortcomings unless these guys are really sharp..I can’t watch the game because KDOC doesn’t reach me, unless they lift the blackout…will check in after..

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