Suffice to say, the memory of Nov. 11 constitutes something different for the London Knights' Matt Rupert and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds' Nick Cousins than it does for general public.
The Philadelphia Flyers organization — along with anyone with a rough outline of the Ontario Hockey League — knew who they were getting when they selected Nick Cousins in 2011. Cousins is, pick your preferred nomenclature, an agitator, a pest, a sandpaper guy. The Knights and Greyhounds faced off Sunday, one year to the day of Ryan Rupert, Matt's twin brother, delivering a two-handed slash to Cousins' midsection during a skirmish after the final buzzer, which resulted in a suspension. Predictably, the anniversary of that antagonism resulted in a war of words, with Matt Rupert calling Cousins "a loser" after the Knights earned the win.
From Ryan Pyette:
"He's a loser," [Matt Rupert] said. "Put that in there — seriously. He's a diver out there. He's the worst in the league. Everyone doesn't like him out there. Nobody likes him in the league, I don't think."
... Cousins wasn't about to get on the bus and go quietly into the night after hearing Rupert's comments.
"That's the way I play," the 19-year-old Belleville native and third round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers said. "That's why I got drafted. That's why I'm having success in my career.
"He (Matt Rupert) didn't get drafted. I got drafted, so say that." (London Free Press)
It is all fun and games until this escalates into something terrible happening. Highly competitive young people are wont to vent rather than filter, which makes it damn entertaining.
Cousins is the more accomplished player of the two, of course, even if his omission from Team OHL failed to create any stir outside home city. (The question of why Hockey Canada, whose player pool for the national junior team includes many eminently qualified forwards who do not have a criminal charge hanging over their heads, would need Cousins failed to come up, for some reason.)
Matt Rupert was not drafted in June but that's hardly a final evaluation. The Toronto Maple Leafs invited him to their summer developmental camp after drafting his twin in the sixth round. The increasing willingness of NHL teams to draft players passed over in a previous draft or two means it cannot ruled out that Rupert could be selected in 2013 or signed as a free agent. One of his fellow Knights wings, Seth Griffith, was drafted by Boston as a 19-year-old.
So Cousins' "I got drafted" riposte is a little smug. That is just how he rolls and in this context, it beats being boring.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.
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