Without much other hockey news going on lately, the Rick Rypien incident in Minnesota on Tuesday has taken the blogosphere. Here is some reaction from fellow hockey blogs, with mine written below them…
From Greg Wyshynski, Puck Daddy
So what does Rypien deserve?
Five games is the minimum. We'd say 10 games are the maximum and would be a stout suspension that would get the casual fan's attention. Anything over that, and we're once again seeing the NHL overplay its hand because of the perception of an image problem that, honestly, it doesn't have anymore but is hypersensitive about.
But knowing Bettman when confronted with an image problem ... well, perhaps we'll see you for Christmas, Rick Rypien.
From Elliotte Friedman, CBC
It's pretty weird, though. Rypien doesn't even look at the guy beforehand. He's arguing with referee Chris Rooney, then turns to walk off the ice and grabs the fan. (I'm surprised at people who say the two men shouldn't have been relocated. I thought that was a brilliant move by the Wild's game staff. Putting them somewhere else diffused any possibility of a repeat.)
When the final judgment comes down on Rypien, people will mock the NHL for caring more about this than concussions or headshots. It's an easy punchline. Player-on-player violence is one thing, but player-on-fan is something else entirely. The NHL has no choice. The suspension must be harsh.
From Chris Botta, AOL FanHouse
No, what Rypien did in his momentary lapse of reason is not equal to the disgraceful sideshow produced by the Pacers and the Pistons. No, it was nothing compared to Mike Milbury and the Boston Bruins going into the stands of Madison Square Garden in 1979 and brawling with Rangers fans.
But Rypien broke the boundary. It doesn't matter if the fans heckled him or his teammates. It doesn't matter if Minnesota security was too slow to close the gate that could have prevented the action. Rypien crossed the line. This was dangerous. This was scary.
Besides an apology, Rypien should sit for 20 games to think about what he did. He should also sit for those 20 games so no NHL player ever thinks about going after a paying customer again.
From Joe Yerdon, Pro Hockey Talk
I know that trying to pick the brain of Colin Campbell, and maybe even Gary Bettman in this case, is a fool’s game but this kind of thing looks bad on everyone involved. It looks bad on Rypien, it looks bad on the Canucks, and it looks bad on the NHL in general. If you want to know how serious some leagues take getting rough with the fans, look no further than the NBA with how they handled the all-out brawl that went down between players and fans in a Detroit Pistons-Indiana Pacers game back in November 2004. The instigator of the melee, Ron Artest, was suspended for the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs, good for an 86-game suspension when it was all said and done.
While the fans in Detroit did their part to help spur that situation on, Artest and other players had zero right to fight them and start a virtual riot. This incident isn’t even remotely on par with that fiasco, but expect that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will take an equally large stand in making his league appear to be serious about taking care of the fans. If I had to guess what Rypien will see punishment-wise from all this when it’s said and done, and remember guessing numbers for suspensions is madness, I’d wager that around 15 games sends enough of a message to get the job done.
From Nucks Misconduct
Does Rick Rypien deserve the suspension? Absolutely. There is no defense for this incredibly stupid and selfish act. So what am I saying when I mention it makes me a little sad? I feel bad that a guy who has been through a lot of personal issues, ones that the team stood by him through, appears to have thrown away his career.
Rypien is a skilled fighter, has decent hands and has always been one of the hardest working guys on the team. It sucks to think that one mistake is gonna see his days with the Canucks come to a close.
From Hockey Wilderness
There is only one person, one factor, one anything to blame here. Rick Rypien. Completely unacceptable behavior from a player who had lost control of himself. Not that there is any evidence of this, but play this out in a chance encounter in the real world. A guy gets thrown out of a bar, and another guy heckles him on the way out. The guy being tossed attacks the heckler. What now? You going to tell him to leave the bar for three days?
Do the right thing, NHL. Get this guy off the ice and make it clear to the players that physical interaction with the fans is not going to be tolerated in any way. Stop this before it turns into something much, much worse. Show your fans that they mean something more than a small suspension for a guy who's time with the team is likely done anyway. Just do the right thing.
From Matt Reitz, View From My Seats
Initial estimates from people around the hockey world put Rypien’s potential suspension at around 10 games. But if we’ve learned anything from the NHL, it’s that trying to predict suspensions is about as accurate as predicting earthquakes in California. Just to mix in a bit of irony: Rypien was not thrown out of the game and was allowed to play in the 3rd period.
This is obviously an unfortunate incident for all parties – Rick Rypien, the fan, the Canucks, the Wild and the NHL. Although Rypien didn’t appear to hurt the 28-year-old Minnesota Wild fan, this is an unacceptable act. Any athlete in any sport should never cross the boundaries and partake in an altercation with the crowd – no matter what is said or signaled.
If I were the NHL, I’d lay down the law with a minimum of eight games, maybe even ten. The thing that goes unnoticed in this whole ordeal is everything leading up to the fan altercation; punch to Staubitz, being physical with the refs. In the end, I think the NHL will give him five-to-ten. We will know on Friday when Rypien has his in-person hearing with Colin Campbell and Gary Bettman.
Photo credit: Youtube