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Lupul, Carlyle insist Anaheim feud is thing of the past

by Arpon Basu
MONTREAL – Joffrey Lupul doesn't necessarily have fond memories of his new coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but he should be relieved to know that Randy Carlyle feels the hard feelings are justified.

"Lupes made a comment that when we were in Anaheim that he felt I didn't use him correctly, and he was right," Carlyle said of his new top-line left wing. "I made the mistake, and I said it at that time, of not putting Joffrey Lupul at left wing in our top-six grouping. But you have to remember that he came back off of some pretty dramatic back surgery, he had a number of infections and we, at one point, thought he would never play again. That's a mistake we made and I made, and I take responsibility for that. I have talked to Joffrey Lupul about it and that is water under the bridge. He's a top-six forward for the Toronto Maple Leafs, he's having a career year and good for him."

Lupul played one season under Carlyle, who was named the new Maple Leafs coach Friday night, in Anaheim in 2005-06 and put up pretty solid numbers – 28 goals and 25 assists in 81 games. The 28 goals remain a career high for Lupul, while the 53 points was a career high until he passed it this season with 66 points.


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Yet, despite that success under Carlyle, Lupul was traded that offseason to Edmonton in the deal that brought Chris Pronger to Anaheim, which was a big key to Brian Burke, now the Toronto GM, and Carlyle winning the Stanley Cup the following season.

Lupul's outspokenness about how he felt created some concern that the hiring of Carlyle by Burke Friday night may be a source of conflict. Not so, says Lupul.

"It really doesn't matter too much," Lupul said. "I was coming off an injury then, it was a different situation on a different team. I'm having a solid season this year, I like to think of myself as one of the leaders on this team, so it's not really an issue. It's a new situation and we're going to make it work."

After a brief meeting Friday night, both Carlyle and Lupul came away confident they can move forward together.

"We spoke last night when he got to the hotel," Lupul said. "Whatever happened in the past…really wasn't too much, we had a fine relationship. But we said whatever happened in the past is in the past. This is a new team for both of us and a new opportunity for everyone. We want to win games -- both him and I and every other guy in the room. We all share that one thing in common."
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