In one of the wilder stories from the beginning of this NHL season, Vancouver Canucks enforcer Rick Rypien has been suspended indefinitely by the NHL for grabbing a Wild fan in Tuesday night’s game against the Minnesota Wild.
The Wild, playing their first game after an intense bag skate from head coach Todd Richards, were in the process of destroying the Canucks 6-2. The Wild aren’t a team with high expectations whereas the Canucks were predicted to be #1 in the Western Conference before the season started. Needless to say, emotions from Vancouver were running high.
At 6:22 of the second period, a scrum formed by the Wild bench. During the pushing and shoving, Rypien pushed a linesman and then went back to the Vancouver bench. A fan yelled something that caused Rypien to flip and grab the fan from the stands. A man next to him (his brother) kept him from falling over.
The call that was apparently too much for Rypien to handle? From the Puck Daddy blog on Yahoo: “Way to be professional.”
The NHL will hold a hearing on Friday to determine the extent of the suspension, which could be anywhere from 5 to 10 games. I would be surprised at anything less than 8, as the league has to send a stern message to its players: this is unacceptable.
And it is. These are professional athletes making scores of money that would make you or I wet the bed (said bed made of hundred dollar bills). The fans are who pays your salary and to react in any way other than indifference is garbage. I might be more sympathetic if there was a more serious action that predicated Rypien’s reaction, but words are words.