It's the story everyone is talking about. Rick Rypien of the Vancouver Canucks "attacking" a Minnesota Wild fan in the stands. Reactions around the media range from Rypien should be burned at the stake to he lost his cool for a moment and should not be suspended for much more than the minimum five games.
At the moment, Rypien has been suspended indefinitely by the NHL.
If you haven't already watched the incident:
As he left the ice surface, Rypien interacted with his coach, and there was an attempt by his captain, Henrik Sedin, to talk to him. Rypien was clearly worked up, but with all that was going on around him, he would have had to consciously chosen to focus on the apparent heckling fan he grabbed. It also appears that he shoved Sedin aside to lunge at the fan.
A big time no-no!
Watch it again and you see Sedin is really the only one of his teammates with a clear look at what Rypien did. While Malhotra and Bieksa further exacerbate the situation, Sedin gives a look of frustrated disgust and skates off camera.
On Wednesday, Michael Russo of the Star Tribune reported:
Just got off the phone with 28-year-old James Engquist from Mendota Heights. He is the fan who Canucks forward Rick Rypien grabbed last night as he was leaving the ice...
Engquist attended the Wild-Vancouver game with his brother, Peter, getting seats directly behind the visitors' bench as a gift from their father: "I was just standing straight up applauding as he was getting kicked out. He was out of control. And then I said, 'Way to be professional,' and he obviously didn’t care for that comment and decided to grab me and almost dragged me over the rail. If my brother wasn’t grabbing me and the other player wasn't grabbing him, he probably would have dragged me over the edge."
As Mike Chen very astutely pointed out in "From the Rink":
I bet what the Minnesota fan said to Rypien is nothing compared to what Sidney Crosby hears in Philadelphia.
Chen, it seems, was correct in his assumption.
Again we say, Rypien was agitated. It is human nature to get caught up in the moment, but he chose to lash out like he did. It could not be more evident that Rypien does not respect the line walked by a professional. The League would be wise to sit him until he learns better.