Mike Rupp of New York Rangers a Source of Controversy in 2012 NHL Winter Classic

Jason SapunkaCorrespondent IIJanuary 2, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 02:  Mike Rupp #71 and the New York Rangers celebrate after defeating the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 3-2 during the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park on January 2, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

"You're irrelevant out here."

That's what Mike Rupp of the New York Rangers said to Philadelphia Flyers enforcer Jody Shelley after Shelley tried getting Rupp to fight in the December 23rd game between the two teams.

Rupp was apparently suggesting that since Shelley had no effect on the outcome of the hockey game, Rupp had no reason to fight him.

This is strange; at the time, both Rupp and Shelley were tied with one point this NHL season.

What's even stranger is that Rupp had no problem fighting the "irrelevant" Shelley last season when Rupp was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Maybe Rupp decided that Shelley was "irrelevant" because Shelley won that fight. Maybe it's because Rupp knew he would triple his season points total in the 2012 Winter Classic.

Rupp scored two goals in the January 2nd outdoor hockey game between the two clubs, helping the Rangers beat the Flyers by a score of 3-2.

Rupp's two-goal night adds up to a whopping career total of 52.

After his first goal (which put the Rangers down 2-1), Rupp took off his glove and did a salute as his celebration. It was the first time he ever used that celebration.

The salute has long been the celebration of Philadelphia Flyers' forward Jaromir Jagr, a five-time NHL points leader.

By no surprise, Rupp's celebration was viewed as disrespectful by at least one Philadelphia player; Scott Hartnell approached Rupp later, telling him to have some respect for a future hall-of-famer.

Ian Laperierre said, "Before you can salute like that, you better score more then 51 career goal[s]."

To be accurate, Rupp should total at least 1,500 more points if he's going to be taunting the man who is 9th on the NHL's list of all-time leading point scorers.



Jason Sapunka is a B/R Featured Columnist. He is available on Twitter.