Rupp rubs Flyers wrong way
CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency
PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia Flyers star Jaromir Jagr missed most of the Winter Classic with a sore calf, a flareup from a spear in the Flyers’ last game.
New York Rangers forward Mike Rupp subbed in with a pretty fair imitation of Jagr’s signature post-goal, bare-handed salute.
Rupp made what could be interpreted as a mocking gesture after he scored at 14:51 of the first period, just 30 seconds after the Flyers had taken a 2-0 lead in what would turn out to be a 3-2 Rangers win. Rupp also scored the goal to tie it early in the third.
At first Rupp wouldn’t answer a question about his imitation of the Jagr salute.
He was then asked if he had thought about using teammate Artem Anisimov’s machine-gun gesture, which saw Anisimov point his stick like a gun at the net of the Tampa Bay Lightning a couple of weeks ago, triggering outrage from the Lightning.
“The machine gun, it’s retired, I think,” said Rupp, who added about the Jagr salute: “No pre-thoughts, believe it or not. I was just kind of excited in the moment.”
The Flyers clearly weren’t happy. Philly forward Scott Hartnell appeared to be having words with Rupp before the third period.
“He just wished me a happy new year and I did the same,” Rupp said. “Hopefully he has a good year and he wished me the same. So it was good. Honestly, I didn’t know what he was saying. He was saying something and obviously, he wasn’t happy with something. I don’t know.”
Flyers forward Claude Giroux said he couldn’t understand why Rupp would steal Jagr’s signature celebration.
Did Giroux consider it disrespectful?
“I think Jags has been in the league for a long time and I think he’s the only guy I saw do that celebration, so I think he’s a pretty classy guy, Jags,” said Giroux. “He’s a good guy. I don’t think anybody in the league hates him. I don’t know why (Rupp) would do that. That’s his choice, I guess.”