Vancouver Canucks bruiser Rick Rypien, who shoved a Wild fan while walking to the locker room during the second period last night, has been suspended by the NHL pending a hearing. The League had to act quickly, because the Canucks are in action again tonight in Chicago.
The NHL did not release a comment, and won’t until the hearing has been completed.
A couple follow up items on this incident: It appears there is still some confusion out there about what happened to the fans involved. Some thought he and his friend were ejected from the game following the incident. They were not. They were moved to two seats on the glass in the Wild end for the remainder of the game. The two were later shown on the scoreboard, and one of the guys flexed his muscles. You’ve got to love it.
Also, even if Rypien hadn’t attacked a fan, you have to think he should have been suspended anyway. First, he suckered Brad Staubitz in the head while Stauby was being held by the linesman. Check out this photo and I think you can tell the Wild players on the bench would agree with my assertion that it was a bush league move. Check out Cal Clutterbuck’s face of outrage. You’ve got to love that too.
And then there was the altercation with linesman Don Henderson. As Henderson kept yanking the Vancouver nut job away from Staubitz, Rypien was just getting more upset. He responded with a blatant shove of Henderson. Didn’t Pete Rose get something like a 30 game suspension for showing an umpire back in the 80’s?
There are three people in this incident who look almost as bad as Rypien. First, hothead Kevin Bieksa trying to get involved in the incident and then visibly yelling at fans from the bench even after everyone had been moved away. Bieksa then told the Vancouver Province, “You were there too, weren’t you? I was on the bench. I wasn’t involved in it. I couldn’t see what was happening. There was a big crowd in front of me on the bench. Guys were standing up and I didn’t see what happened.”
Second, Manny Malhotra, who said after the game, “The fan got a little bit too involved, and there’s just no place for that in the game. There are boundaries that should never be crossed. We are in our area of work and we are all for the hooting and hollering and supporting your team and saying whatever is tasteful out there. But as soon as you cross that line and want to become physical with a player, we have to make sure we take care of ourselves.”
Third, wouldn’t the last night have been the perfect time for General Manager Mike Gillis to step up and admonish his player for clearly being in the wrong? Couldn’t he say, “It was unacceptable, and action will be taken by us.” Instead, all he said was, “We’ll wait and see how the league views it. I’m sure there will be a hearing of some sort.” Way to step up, Mike!
And finally, if you haven’t seen the incident with the Vancouver announcers calling it, you should Youtube it. It’s hysterical how some people can describe something completely different from what everyone else is watching. It hearkens back to Wild vs. Anaheim in the playoffs when the Ducks broadcasters insinuated that Kim Johnsson instigated the Brad May sucker punch.