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ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – Mike Rupp showed up for the Wild’s first playoff practice Monday with a new look.
Call it a new take on the playoff beard.
“It’s a special time of year,” Rupp said. “You pull out all the stops I guess.”
If there’s anyone on the Wild who knows about this time of year, its Rupp, who won the 2003 Stanley Cup in his rookie season with New Jersey. Matt Cullen is the only other Wild player who’s won the honor.
“You can’t really put it in words. It’s what you play for. It’s a lot of different emotions. It’s a fun time but it’s a rollercoaster ride. And I think the teams that benefit the most are the teams that just stay focused, keep their eyes facing forward,” he said. “You don’t get too high, don’t get too low. There’s a lot of ups and downs in a series, ups and downs in a hockey game in the playoffs, and everything’s magnified. So, it’s just about staying the course and keeping focused.”
There are 11 players on the Wild with absolutely no playoff experience whatsoever. And according to Wild Coach Mike Yeo – that makes guys like Rupp incredibly valuable.
“That experience is huge. As far as their play and their ability to go out and lead the way, but also just to share with some of the guys that haven’t been here before what to expect and how to deal with it,” Yeo said.
Rupp adds that the post season is a very special time that’s filled with intensity.
“This is the time of the year where everything in the world just stops in our minds,” Rupp said. “And we just dig in even more.”