CHICAGO – Mike Rupp has had finer YouTube moments, like being the only player in NHL history to have his first goal be a Stanley Cup-clinching score in 2003 for the New Jersey Devils against, ahem, Chuck Fletcher’s Anaheim Ducks.
But on Thursday, the “highlight” of Rupp breaking his right skate blade in the corner and having to crawl back to the Wild bench in Tuesday’s series-opening game against Chicago had almost 19,000 views on YouTube.
The incident occurred late in overtime when Rupp toppled over Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy.
As the Wild exited the zone and began to forecheck, only four players entered the Blackhawks zone. That’s because Rupp desperately was trying to get to the bench. He fell twice. Finally, as the play began heading back to the Wild end, Rupp realized the Wild was essentially a man short.
So Rupp frantically began crawling to the bench so a fifth skater could come on the ice.
“If it happened again, I now know what I’d do,” said Rupp, who was lucky the blade broke in the end of the ice closer to his bench. “I’d get on the knee that had no blade and use the other one as a sled. I think that’d be the best way. I could have just lay hurt, too, but I knew the ref saw the blade, so he knew I wasn’t hurt.”
After getting to the bench, Rupp ran into the Wild locker room and quickly put on an old right skate. That meant he was wearing a newer left skate and an older right skate.
Rupp’s next shift? Chicago’s overtime goal when Bryan Bickell lost Rupp on his backcheck and accepted Viktor Stalberg’s pass for the winner.
“It wasn’t because I was wearing one old and one new skate,” Rupp said. “The puck went in the air [after Johnny Oduya’s pass off the glass]. I lost it for a second. I saw [Ryan Suter] jump and I knew I had to get back fast.
“But just that one second I didn’t move my feet to read it, [Bickell’s] gone. It was a bad read. I should have just taken the strides first and then made the read instead of reading and reacting. It was obviously a planned play because the second Oduya got the puck, Stalberg was gone. Definitely a set play — two Swedes looking at each other and knowing what the other would do.”