Recently I was able to obstruct New Jersey Devils forward Mike Rupp long enough to ask him a few of these questions. Rupp is a 23-year-old center from Kitimat, British Columbia, who went undrafted out of Ohio State University (where he played for four seasons) and was signed by New Jersey as a free agent in July of 2006. He played in 65 games’ with the Devils’ AHL affiliate in Lowell (17g-12a) and has been with New Jersey since his call-up late last season. In his young career Pelley has skated in 48 NHL games, scoring five points (2g-3a) and has been a key contributor on the Devils’ penalty killing unit. So who’s Mike Rupp off the ice? Read on:
Dan Rice: First NHL goal?
Mike Rupp: I remember Jiri Bicek gave me the puck on the half-wall and I took one step towards the net – it was weird I was expecting someone to hit me and for whatever reason I had a lot of room to skate – I just remember trying to fire it as hard as I could. I beat (Roberto) Luongo over his glove, and it was a great feeling.
DR: You remembered it well, do you have the puck?
RP: Yeah I have the puck.
DR: Pre-game routine if you have one?
RP: I’m not a superstitious guy, I guess routine wise I have a warm up thing that I kind of do; some running and jumping, stuff like that, so I guess that’d be about it.
DR: Who’s your road roommate and how are they?
RP: Clarkie’s (David Clarkson) my roommate last year and this year, he’s good. Him and I are good buddies, we keep it light with each other and it’s a good time.
DR: What would be in your suitcase on a road trip?
RP: I got my iPod that I watch The Office on it, all of The Office episodes.
DR: Great show. What is your favorite NHL jersey?
RP: I grew up a big fan of the Hartford Whalers jersey.
DR: I saw someone wearing one in the concourse tonight.
RP: Did you? I tried to do some research and realized that they don’t really make them anymore. I don’t have one but it’s always been a favorite of mine; that and the old Quebec Nordiques jersey.
DR: Favorite sport besides hockey?
RP: I like all of the sports actually. I’d love to get involved in some sports talk when I’m done with my (playing) career. I’d have to say baseball and basketball are right there. I’m a big baseball fan, but these days I actually follow basketball a bit closer. I’m a big fan of both.
DR: What was your last job before playing pro hockey?
MR: I was a produce clerk at a grocery store.
DR: Does that bring back memories?
MR: It does, I’m pretty good at naming fruits – I know what apples are best for baking pies and all that stuff.
DR: Who is your best friend in the NHL?
MR: It’s hard to say I have a lot of close friends on this team. This team is the closest team I’ve ever played on. All of us can go out to dinner with anybody at any given time, so it’s great. I don’t know if I have a best friend but this team is pretty close.
DR: Who is the biggest joker/prankster on the team?
MR: There’s a crew of them, there’s a few guys. I’d say John Madden and guys like Paul Martin who do it and people don’t really realize it.
DR: So your favorite TV show is the office, what’s your favorite movie?
MR: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.
DR: Best vacation you’ve ever been on?
MR: My honeymoon, we went to Jamaica.
DR: Last concert you attended?
MR: I’ve got a buddy in a band called Hawk Nelson, I’d have to say that, I go see him every summer.
DR: Craziest thing someone has said to you on the ice?
MR: I have no idea to be honest with you. Probably some things that shouldn’t be repeated.
I hope everyone enjoyed learning more about Mike Rupp and if there is a player you’d like to read about in a future column or have a question you want asked, let me know:
Dan Rice covers the New Jersey Devils & NHL for NYCSportsnetwork.com & contributes to MaxHockey.com as well as IslesNation.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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