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Carlyle says Lupul is “a much more complete hockey player today”

Jan 21, 2013, 3:04 PM EDT

Joffrey Lupul Getty Images

Last March, when Toronto hired Randy Carlyle to replace fired head coach Ron Wilson, Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul must’ve been wondering what he’d done to deserve it.

Carlyle and Lupul had been together before in Anaheim, and let’s just say the relationship had its issues.

But to his credit, Carlyle was quick to admit he misused Lupul with the Ducks.

And if you had any doubt there was no lingering resentment, Lupul this weekend agreed to stay in Toronto through 2017-18 with a five-year, $26.5 million contract extension.

“Lupes and I didn’t see eye to eye, in the past,” Carlyle said, per the Globe and Mail. “Because of the type of player [he was]. He’s a much different player now than what he was then and that’s partly because a) I didn’t give him the right situation or put him in the right situation and b) he suffered almost a career-ending injury and he’s taken a different approach to his preparation, both physically and mentally.

“He’s a much more complete hockey player today than he was five or six years ago. He’s not the only player you can say that about. I think Lupes has shown a tremendous amount of leadership, a lot of courage and a lot of grit and determination to get where he is.”

Of course, that’s not stopping people from questioning the money and term the Leafs have committed to Lupul, a 29-year-old with an extensive injury history.

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