CALGARY - Not only does Mike Rupp know the importance of fans, but the value of beer.
During warmup of a recent game, the Pittsburgh Penguins forward bumped into the boards, inadvertently knocking a patron’s beer off the dasher.
“Mike felt terrible about it, so he asked the trainer to grab $10 out of Rupp’s wallet,” says Rupp’s agent Allan Walsh.
“He then wrote an apology on a puck, signed it and taped the $10 bill around it. He went over to the glass, got the guy’s attention and tossed the puck over to him.
“The fan read the note, looked up, smiled and gave a big thumbs up.”
Now that’s good public relations, not to mention service.
Now for more notes, quotes and anecdotes from a sports world that would like to thank Fergie for making the last Super Bowl we’ll see in a while a memorable one.
Around the horn
Congratulations Rick (The Innovator) DiPietro for finding yet another new way to get injured … When asked about goaltenders like DiPietro and Brent Johnson, fighting Phoenix Coyotes philosopher Paul Bissonnette came up with what is unquestionably the NHL’s quote of the year so far. “It’s kind of like girls kissing at the bar,” said the scrapper. “It’s a rare occurrence, and when it happens, it just doesn’t happen long enough. It usually ends quick and leaves you wanting more. So, more goalie fighting, I guess.” … Speaking of goalie scraps, the mask of Kitchener Rangers starter Brandon Maxwell features bloodied images of Patrick Roy and Ron Hextall following fights … Great tweet by ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun after the Bruins and Stars opened their recent tilt with three fights in the first four seconds: “The ’70s called — they want those four seconds back.”
Shocking how little was said about Canadian qualifier Milos Raonic storming through to the fourth round of the Australian Open with a 230-km/h serve that had the tennis world abuzz. Still, it was a little over the top for one U.S. analyst to suggest he’ll be the greatest Canadian tennis player of all time. Such a comment is a smack in the face to Daniel Nestor, who has quietly gone about winning 71 pro doubles titles, which includes an Olympic gold medal and six Grand Slam men’s doubles titles … Surprised to see the ever-apathetic Alex Kovalev score his 11th on Saturday night? Don’t be. Kovalev knows the season-ending injury to Evgeni Malkin might offer up the only chance he has of being traded. Kovalev, whose outrageous US$5-million price is otherwise unmovable given his heartless play, spent the most productive years of his career in Pittsburgh, where they now have the cap space and desire to add a scorer. The Senators would be happy to rid themselves of Kovalev, his attitude and his salary for a late draft pick. Are the Pens ready to take the chance, as he’s a huge gamble with big upside? … Not sure what this says, but when Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff was going through his brief struggles last month, not one team called to inquire about his services.
Twice traded by the Flames, Brandon Prust is establishing himself as a solid NHL player in Manhattan this year, where he has become a fan favourite. While seeing time on the second line occasionally, he was recently paired with Brian Boyle and Sean Avery for a deliciously annoying yet potent trio … Always at least a dozen issues behind, I finally got around to reading Sports Illustrated’s NFL Preview dated Sept. 6 and on the cover is Peter King’s clairvoyant prediction: Steelers over Packers. Wow, was he waaaaay off … As one man put it following the blizzard-that-never-was in Toronto last week: “I haven’t seen that much over-hype by the Toronto media since the Leafs opened the season 4-0.” … As shocking as Johan Franzen’s five-goal game was last week, TSN’s Scott Cullen points out the oft-injured Mule is actually eighth in goals per game since 2008. Even more impressive is the fact he’s fourth in playoff goals per game during that time. Shockingly, the man just behind him on that playoff list is Toronto’s Phil Kessel, obviously based on his work in Beantown.