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Lupul Finds Strength in the Orange and Black

by Jessica Wenger / Philadelphia Flyers
Right wing excited for fresh start in Philadelphia

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(Voorhees, NJ, August 13) – Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren welcomed new Flyer Joffrey Lupul on Monday afternoon at the Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone.  As the press conference came to an end and Lupul slipped his Philadelphia Flyers jersey on for the first time, his feelings were made clear. 

“I feel tougher already,” said the 6’1”, 205-pound right wing.

Lupul was acquired along with defenseman Jason Smith on July 1st in a trade that sent defenseman Joni Pitkanen and winger Geoff Sanderson to the Edmonton Oilers. 

After spending much of his offseason in southern California, Lupul is fired up to get out on the ice and earn his spot in the line-up.
Joffrey Lupul speaks with the local media as Paul Holmgren looks on. (Flyers Photos)

“It’s going to be competitive, but I look forward to playing with a bunch of guys my age. It seems like a lot of us have something to prove this year,” he said. “I aspire to be a first-line right winger that can put the puck in then net and can also bring a bit of a physical aspect and real competitiveness.”

When asked to describe himself as a player, Lupul feels that his ability to shoot the puck and put up points offensively will make him an asset to the team.  That competitiveness that Lupul demonstrates is an attribute that Holmgren looks for in a player.

“He is one of those guys that in the offensive zone who really has a knack and a nose for the net and the ability to put the puck in the net,” said Holmgren.  “Between his competitiveness, his tenacity and his ability to score goals, he’s going to bring a lot to our team and we are excited about having him here.”

Lupul spoke about his reaction after hearing about the trade that sent him to Philadelphia just over a month ago.

“It’s always a bit of a surprise when you are traded, but I’m happy to come here.  It’s definitely a team that’s made some big improvements this summer,” said Lupul.  “I knew a couple of the guys here and they had nothing but good things to say about the team and the organization.”

The Anaheim Ducks selected Lupul during the first round, seventh overall, in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. After two seasons there, they traded him to the Edmonton Oilers in the deal for superstar defenseman Chris Pronger

Now with his third team in as many years, the 24-year-old feels that experience helped make this trade much easier.

“The first time I was traded it really caught me by surprise.  I was a little upset at first,” Lupul admitted.  “This time I’m just excited to get to a new team, a new city, and a team that a lot of people feel has a really good chance of winning.”

As the Flyers prepare for the 2007-08 season, Lupul can sense that the Flyers have put in place a strong leadership group. He is already used to playing with Smith, who was the captain of the Oilers last season.

“Jason Smith is a tremendous leader and was a great captain in Edmonton,” said Lupul.  “Some of the other guys were also captains, like Danny Briere and Kimmo Timonen, so I think bringing in that type of leadership with veterans like that will really help with the process.”

Although Lupul had what he considers a disappointing season last year with Edmonton after two strong campaigns in Anaheim, he has already pinpointed his mistakes and plans on getting right back to where he left off following the 2005-06 season.

“I feel that I had a tough start to the year and I never really got myself back on track mentally.  I think I was really frustrated at times, and maybe a little too worried with not scoring,” he said. 

“I wasn’t scoring and then I kind of stopped doing other things as well instead of just really getting back to basics.  It was a good learning experience and I don’t think I will have that problem again.”

Lupul is not the only one excited to be in a Flyers jersey.  Holmgren is optimistic that this year will be an exciting one for Lupul and for the rest of the organization.

“I like Joffrey’s comments here.  He knows he had a tough year last year.  I believe he knows he’s a better player then he played last year and he is willing to stand up and face the challenge of a fresh start here in Philadelphia,” Holmgren said. 

“I look forward to seeing him play in a Flyers’ uniform.  I think he’s going to be a tremendous addition to our team.”
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