Three days ago, Mike Rupp rained fists down on Florida Panthers forward Tomas Kopecky after he sucker-punched Michael Del Zotto at the end of a 4-1 Rangers victory in Sunrise. Today, he scored two goals in the Winter Classic against the Philadelphia Flyers to erase a 2-0 deficit late in the second period.
After two memorable moments in Rangers blue, could Rangers fans quickly forget the name Sean Avery?
There’s no questioning the love for Avery amongst most Rangers fans; his in-your-face attitude and loud-mouth made him an instant fan favorite following the trade in February 2007 from the Los Angeles Kings, and again in 2009 when he was claimed off re-entry waivers after being exiled from the Dallas Stars.
But the easiest way to forget about Avery, who was waived last week and is now playing for the Connecticut Whale of the AHL, is to find someone who does most of what Avery does, and even more effectively.
Rupp can fight, something he proven throughout his career and throughout his short tenure in New York. Rupp can talk, which Rangers fans saw first-hand on last week’s episode of HBO’s 24/7 series. And as the world learned today, Rupp can put the puck in the net.
Remember back when Aaron Voros replaced Avery after the 31-year-old winger signed a four-year deal in Dallas? Voros had a great October before fizzling off and many fans were fine with Avery’s departure. If Rupp could do the same, the name Sean Avery will be a distant memory.
Will Rupp be the new Avery? Probably not, but if he could continue to contribute with his stick and his fists, Rangers fans’ anger towards John Tortorella for banishing Avery from New York for good will most definitely wain.
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