Why Leafs’ Lupul is done with the KHL

On Sunday, Lupul caused a minor stir – and a couple hundred retweets – after he took to Twitter to express his inability to land a table at Real Sports, the popular restaurant/bar located adjacent to the Air Canada Centre and owned by Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment.

“@realsports is not allowed to take reservations from Leafs players during the lockout but will continue selling our jerseys for $300 a pop,” Lupul wrote on Twitter.

“Same thing happened to me a month ago #amateurhour,” new Leaf James Van Riemsdyk tweeted in response.

Both forwards later deleted their messages.

“Honestly, I wish I didn’t write that. I was just frustrated,” Lupul told The Fan’s Brady and Lang.

More frustrating, of course, is the lockout, which Lupul describes as a “standstill” right now.

The players have been on series of conference calls with Donald Fehr and the NHLPA’s executive committee, and Lupul says the players are well briefed on both their options to file “disclaimer of interest” or decertify.

The 700-plus players are in the midst of a five-day vote that will conclude Thursday to determine if the players will give Fehr the power to file a disclaimer of interest on their behalf.

The belief is that if the NHLPA does not vote to give Fehr such power, it will signal a victory of the league. Two-thirds of the union must approve for the motion to pass.

“There’s going to be some guys with different opinions, but at the end of the day, we hired Don Fehr to do a job,” Lupul said. “We have to trust him now.

“Judging by guys on the call, there’s some guys with different suggestions and different opinions, but for the most part everyone trusts Don and is happy with the job he’s doing. Obviously we’re all very frustrated we’re not playing hockey right now.

“Now more than ever is the time when you have to stick together. The owners have definitely shown that they’re looking for cracks in the PA, doing things like trying to negotiate without Don there.”

Lupul’s next game will be at Toronto’s Mattamy Athletic Centre, the arena formerly known as Maple Leaf Gardens, on Wednesday for the RBC Play Hockey Charity Challenge. The sold-out exhibition will feature a cast of NHL stars – including Dion Phaneuf, Phil Kessel, James Neal, Logan Couture, Tomas Kaberle, and Kris Versteeg – divided on teams captained by Steven Stamkos and P.K. Subban.

“I’m looking forward to it a lot,” said Lupul, who admits he’s never stepped foot in the old Gardens. “I don’t know what team I’m on. I hope I’m on Stamkos, though.”

After Lupul’s interview it was announced that he will join linemate Kessel on Team Subban, instead.