Former NHL enforcer blasts Auston Matthews for role in scrum

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.”

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.

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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