The NHL’s controversy of the summer has finally come to a head.
Joffrey Lupul has officially failed his ‘second’ physical, per league deputy commissioner Bill Daly, and as a result will go on long-term injured reserve as the team had initially planned.
Lupul was required to undergo this most recent physical after making multiple inflammatory comments on social media earlier this preseason.
The former seventh overall pick, who hasn’t skated since the 2015-16 NHL season, took to the comment section on his own Instagram account to defend himself amid accusations that he was helping the Leafs circumvent the salary cap by going on a bogus LTIR placement.
The accusations, of course, seemed founded; they were tossed from hecklers on Instagram pictures of the forward out playing tennis and snowboarding, seeming in perfect health despite the team’s insistence that he was in no condition to skate this year.
Lupul only made things worse by seeming to agree with the commenters, claiming that he wasn’t even sure how he had failed a physical he’d never taken and that he was just ‘waiting for the call’ from the team to be allowed to rejoin them in the ice.
The comments have since been deleted, but the internet is forever – so the league took matters into their own hands, insisting upon a second physical for the forward conducted by an independent doctor reporting to the league at large (rather than to Lou Lamoriello).
Unsurprisingly, Lupul failed the physical, and he’ll spend the year exactly where he would have before his Twitter Fingers™ got itchy; doing non-hockey things, far from the locker room for Toronto and even farther from the rink.
A true, diehard conspiracy theorist could claim that the league is in cahoots with the Maple Leafs. After all, there would be some serious questions to answer in the name of insurance fraud for the league at large if it came out that a player had been falsely kept off the cap payroll for a full season-plus without any kind of independent investigation.
Realistically, though, Lupul is simply still suffering from what took him out for the season last year, which the Leafs have chosen not to specifically disclose – so he’ll now ride out the rest of his contract from his front row seats at Coachella from here on out.