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Mike Rupp is now a contributor for the Players Tribune

30 May 2015 - 10:52 PM

Mike Rupp is writing articles for the Players Tribune now, they are the same source that had that really interesting Gomez article a while back. Anyway, because he has been discussing the playoffs for a few weeks, he shares some stories from the 2003 cup run with devils. Here is one sample:



I was as sitting in the locker room a few hours before Game 4 of the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals talking about nachos when Pat Burns walked in. I was a rookie who hadn’t played in any of the playoff games, so my main goal was just trying to stay out of everybody’s way. I spent most of my time talking to our other “healthy scratch” player about what kind of food we were going to eat in the press box that night. I remember Anaheim had particularly good nachos, so we were talking about how excited we were about the nachos when Burns walked in and waved his hand.

“Rupp, come over here.”

I walk over and he gets really close to my face.

“Rupp, did you go out last night?”

“What? No coach, no way.”

He gets even closer. We’re like nose to nose.

“Did you go out last night?”

“Coach, no. I’m not that kind of guy. I’d never.”

“I’m going to ask you one more time.”

Now I’m freaking out. What’s he talking about? I was in bed at 11.

“Rupp, did you go out last night?”

“Coach I swear, I didn’t go out last night.”

He tapped me on the chest.

“Okay, go get your gear on. You’re playing tonight.”

He turned around and walked away like nothing happened.

It was a brilliant move on his part. I was so off-kilter from the conversation that I didn’t even have time to be nervous as I was putting on my equipment. If he would’ve told me I was playing the night before, I wouldn’t have slept. Burns was exceptional at playing those mind games.