Rupp Continues Role Change
Michael Rupp has become a legit NHL heavyweight tough guy. He always had the size, that wasn’t the issue, but he never wore the label. The former first round (and third round) pick was expected to fill a powerforward role. Throw his body around, score some goals. Rupp scored 32 his last season in juniors, but topped out at 13 in the AHL and has a season-high of 6 goals in the NHL.
Despite his goal totals being a little less than expected, he does have one monstrous Stanley Cup-clinching goal on his scoresheet (all Cup-clinching goals are monstrous, in case you’re wondering). That was in 2003, his first NHL season. He played for the Coyotes and Blue Jackets before returning to the Devils.
Rupp didn’t come into the league fighting for a roster spot, but his fight totals have increased the last few years and it’s become very apparent he’s willing to fight to keep stay in the NHL. Approaching the All-Star break, he now has 11 fighting majors, already a career-high.
Rupp and Jay Pandolfo were thought to be the two who could lose their spot to Brendan Shanahan after it was announced Shanny would be returning to the Devils. Shanahan played last night and Pandolfo was a healthy scratch.
Rupp let his presence be known in the first period, taking on Preds enforcer Wade Belak. While that fight might have went Belak’s way, Rupp has had a strong season, and it’ll be interesting to see how the rest of his season plays out. That was the only fight from the seven games played yesterday in the NHL.
Punch of the Year
Not hard to declare just a few weeks into the new calendar year, but over in the Central Hockey League, Fraser Filipic of the Colorado Eagles one-punches Jean Bourbeau of the Odessa Jackalopes in a big way that hasn’t been seen in a while. Bourbeau, a university player who hasn’t racked up PIMs since playing in the Atlantic Junior Hockey League in 2003-04 knew he was taking on an experienced tough guy in Filipic, so it was all about showing up for him, but I doubt he was looking to make the highlights this way. To his credit, he popped right up and skated off on his own.
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Michael Rupp vs Wade Belak Jan 19, 2009
Brad May vs Francis Bouillon Jan 8, 2009
Jamal Mayers vs Tom Kostopoulos Jan 8, 2009
Brian Sommers vs Sam Klassen Jan 10, 2009
Todd Ewen vs Ken Baumgartner Jan 23, 1993
Jean Bourbeau vs Fraser Filipic Jan 16, 2009
Daniel Carcillo vs Ladislav Smid Jan 18, 2009
Jared Boll vs Darcy Hordichuk Jan 18, 2009
R.J. Umberger vs Ryan Kesler Jan 18, 2009
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