Mike Rupp was a pleasant surprise last season as he filled a variety of roles ranging from occasional power forward on the top-two lines to a fourth-line enforcer. For fans, it was a pleasant surprise when he joined Twitter several months ago (@Rupper17). He chatted about his use of social media, his potenial plans after hockey and what his opportunities are with the Penguins for this season.
Why did he join Twitter?
"I was just bored one day and had the app on my phone. Figured I sign up and see what it was about. I talked to my agent a little bit about it. He said it’s a pretty unique tool. You sit there as a player and the fans are so great and they give us so much, if you can let them in a little bit on what you do on an every day basis, I think it’s cool. The whole professional athlete image that is developed through the media isn’t necessarily realistic. I let people know the same things that annoy me through society. I’m always picking the wrong line at the grocery store. Dumb things like what you’re eating, movies you see. And you get feedback from them. I read every single thing pretty much they send back. It’s a neat way to bridge that fan-player relationship."
Has anyone given him some guidelines on how to use it and how to avoid some of the heat Lightning goaltender Dan Ellis recently drew on Twitter?
"No. I think it's just kind of common sense on what you can do and can’t do. Obviously from a certain standpoint, I can’t put anything about my teammates that they wouldn’t want. Also you got to realize the implications of making certain statements. So you just kind of keep it lighthearted. I made comments about the way certain athletes have behaved in other sports. I don’t like it and I’m going to say that. I think it’s a good way for fans to realize that the athlete image is not what it’s made out to be always."
Who are his favorite people to follow on Twitter?
"I’ve got a few of the media guys, (CBC broadcasters) Elliotte Friedman and Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes). Kevin Weekes has some good ones from imformative stuff to just joking arounds. Obviosuly Paul Bissonnette (@BizNasty2point0) has some pretty entertaining ones."
(Note: Friedman's Twitter page appears to have been deleted.)
What prompted him to follow some hockey media?
"I like to get involved in sports talk when I’m done playing. I’d like to just talk all sports. I’m finding it interesting to follow guys that I respect like that. See what their opinions are in certain situations and it also keeps me abreast of some things that are going on that I don’t know or aren’t covered in our local media."
Does he have a chance to see some time on the top-two lines this season once again?
"Yeah, I think so. I came here last year assuming that I was going to play a particular slot all year. I got rewarded for playing well. I got an opportunity. I look at it as I as able to show what I could do. It was the first time in my career that I’ve been really able to be used that way and I’d like to build off it. I have confidence if I’m playing well that I’ll get some opportunities."
(Photos: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)