Toronto Maple Leafs wing, Joffrey Lupul, is unsure whether he will return to Russia after struggling during a recent spell in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) with Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg.
The 29-year-old played in nine games during his time with the Russian side but failed to score any goals. In contrast, during the 2011-12 NHL campaign, Lupul scored 25 goals and had 42 assists in his 66 matches for the Maple Leafs.
Lupul has returned to Canada and he admits that he did not particularly enjoy his spell in Russia, telling the NHL betting news: “The food in Russia was bad. That’s the only thing I will say negative. It’s nice to be back here and have a couple of regular meals.”
Avtomobilist, who are based in Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth-largest city, are currently at the foot of the KHL table, and Lupul added: “I don’t know if I’m going to go back or stay here or what I’m going to do. Obviously, my heart’s here. I want to play here.
“The language was obviously really difficult. I don’t think I envisioned there being quite that little English there. There’s basically none.”
Lupul has a wealth of NHL experience, having played for the Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers before moving to Toronto in February 2011.
His form was so good during the 2011-12 campaign that he was invited to play in the All-Star Game and he scored two goals for Team Chara as they beat Team Alfredsson 12-9.
Last season was Lupul’s most productive in the NHL, although he did score 25 goals and have 25 assists in 79 appearances for the Flyers in the 2008-09 season.
His career has been blighted by back problems but, as he nears a decade in the NHL, he remains a dangerous player, capable of swinging the NHL betting odds in the favour of the Leafs.