For most Toronto Maple Leafs fans, Mark Giordano’s willingness to step up for Auston Matthews during the team's 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday was a sign of a club protecting their top guy and showing some snarl as they clawed their way out of a losing streak.
Former NHL tough guy Mike Rupp, however, had some very different feelings on the affair and took to Twitter in a video lambasting the Maple Leafs star for his role in the fracas.
“You can’t just stand there and be okay with your teammates coming to your defence and you just laugh about it,” Rupp said in the viral clip. “We’ve seen this movie…playing the cool card doesn’t float.”
🎥 I CANT WITH THIS…. ⬇️⬇️⬇️! Not a good sign for TOR pic.twitter.com/DVpclvXFHc
— Mike Rupp (@Rupper17) November 3, 2022
Rupp, who now works as an analyst for NHL network, would certainly know a thing or two about sticking up for teammates. For his career, according to Hockeyfights.com, Rupp was involved in 80 regular season scraps, plus plenty of other extracurriculars during his time as an enforcer in the NHL.
The 11-year NHL vet, who's played alongside stars like Sidney Crosby and Marian Gaborik, was particularly displeased with Matthews' nonchalant reaction to Travis Konecny’s challenge, and how he allowed Giordano and Michael Bunting to take the lead on the fisticuffs.
“You’ve got a 39-year-old warrior (Giordano)...he’s got to come in to fight this fight for you, and you’re going to smile?” Rupp said.
Rupp’s tweet, which has since amassed over 900 retweets and 7600 likes, spread quickly across social media, with fans — and one other former player — sharply divided over Rupp’s take on the clash.
Totally agree this is embarrassing for 34 and the leafs https://t.co/M0XE2ECu40
— Andrew Shaw (@shawz15er) November 3, 2022
"Leafs dont stick up for themself"
"Leafs dont defend eachother"
Leafs defend their team mates and the skilled guys
"Wow look at matthews letting other fight his battles"
How many 60 goal scorers have fights? This aint the Danbury Trashers, skill doesnt have to fight
— Justin Gibson (@JustinGibson98) November 3, 2022
100% agree with this. You don’t need to throw fists but get angry and get involved. Show some passion.
— LT (@LeafsBurner97) November 3, 2022
Normally I agree with you, but dead wrong here. What happens if he fights and gets hurt and is hurt for 1-2 months? The would might as well enter tank mode if that happens. Gio is there for a reason. He isn't there to be a top pair guy anymore. He knows his role and he plays it
— TJ Albury (@tjalbury) November 3, 2022
As for the man in the middle of it all, Matthews seemed appreciative of Giordano’s commitment to having his back.
“That’s what we’re all about here, we’ve always got each other's back no matter what the situation is,” Matthews told reporters post-game. “We take care of each other out there, so it’s not surprising, but obviously it feels good.”
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