Lupul tweet fuels rivalry 0
Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Joffrey Lupul sits on the bench in the third period of their NHL hockey game against the Dallas Stars in Dallas, Texas November 25, 2011. (REUTERS/Mike Stone)
Leave it to Joffrey Lupul to overshadow the return of Tim Connolly to Buffalo.
In what can humorously be described as "Lupul-gate," the Maple Leafs winger was the heated topic of the morning talk shows here on Friday for his controversial tweet on Thursday afternoon.
Accompanied by a photo of the view from his Buffalo hotel, Lupul, via Twitter, asked on Thursday: "Is there any windowless rooms?"
Apart from the poor grammar, Lupul's tweet certainly added some spice to a rivalry that was already heated enough heading into Friday night's Maple Leafs-Sabres showdown at the First Niagara Center.
"I was just joking," Lupul said after the Leafs gameday skate on Friday, "I'm from Fort Saskatchewan. It makes Buffalo look like Rome."
Lupul admitted some of the feedback to his original tweet was not fit to print. At least in not in this space, anyway.
Needless to say, the fine citizens of the Queen City do not enjoy having their community slagged, even if it was all in jest.
"It was a mixture of responses," Lupul said. "People in Buffalo didn't like it. But it was just a joke."
Asked if this would spark ill-will between the teams and their fans, Lupul said the results on the ice would be the biggest contributors to that.
"This rivalry will pick up when we start to win games and make the playoffs," he said.
As for Connolly, he and teammate Phil Kessel almost slipped out of the arena before the media could interview the former Sabre. But reporters caught him before he left the building, leaving him to address a scrum made up of about 20.
"It's going to be an exciting game," Connolly said, downplaying this, his first regular-season game in Buffalo since he left the Sabres as a free agent during the off-season.
When reporters wondered if he would be booed by the Buffalo fans on Friday night, Connolly brought up his linemate Clarke MacArthur, who is also a former Sabre.
"Clarke jokes that when he came back to play here for the first time, people here said: 'Did he play here?' "
MacArthur laughed when recalling his return to Buffalo.
"I had one guy say after the game: 'MacArthur, you're a bum.' That was it."
James Reimer will get the start in goal for the Leafs while Leaf killer Ryan Miller is expected to get the call for Buffalo.
Jonas Gustavsson will likely go against the Vancouver Canucks Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre but, given coach Ron Wilson's history of toying with the media concerning the identity of his starting goalies, who knows?
Meanwhile coach Lindy Ruff said forward Patrick Kaleta was under the weather. It is not known if he will play.