Maple Leafs lose Lupul with broken forearm
Wednesday, 01.23.2013 / 1:19 PM
PITTSBURGH -- Three days after signing a contract extension that signaled Joffrey Lupul's standing as a centerpiece of the Toronto Maple Leafs for years to come, the forward suffered an injury that means he won't be part of their immediate future.
Midway through the second period of an impressive 5-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Lupul sustained a broken right forearm when a Dion Phaneuf shot struck him as he stood in front of the net.
Lupul did not finish the game, and coach Randy Carlyle said he would be evaluated in Toronto on Thursday. But Maple Leafs players were talking like it would be a while before they had one of their alternate captains back.
"It's a big loss -- can't really say much more than that," Phaneuf said. "He's a huge part of our team up front, and it's terrible when you lose a guy like that. But we've got to come together for him and play for the guys that are here."
Lupul was scoreless in three games this season but was second on the Maple Leafs in goals (25) and points (67) behind linemate Phil Kessel last season. The 29-year-old has 151 goals and 323 points in 517 games over nine seasons, earning a five-year, $26.25 million contract through the 2017-18 season that was signed Sunday.
Immediately after the puck hit Lupul, he retreated to the bench and into the locker room. By the second intermission, the Leafs had ruled him out for the game.
"It's real tough, but what do you do?" wing Clarke MacArthur said. "You've got to keep going, right? We're a team in here, and that's a big bump and a big hole to fill. But we have to do it. We don't have any other options."
Toronto is off to a 2-1-0 start, having also defeated the Montreal Canadiens on opening night Saturday before losing its home opener to the Buffalo Sabres on Monday.
The only forward on the active roster who has not been dressed for games is veteran David Steckel, although the Maple Leafs might elect to call up reinforcements from the Marlies of the American Hockey League.
Carlyle shook up his lines some prior to Wednesday's game, so there is no shortage of options to take Lupul's place on the top line next to Kessel and Tyler Bozak.
"It's not going to be one guy that replaces what [Joffrey] brings to the table; it'll take a lot of people stepping up -- not only on the ice but off the ice, being a leader too," wing James van Riemsdyk said.