Canucks' Rypien draws six-game suspension

When I wake up, one of the first things I do is check what's going in the world - both in and out of sports.

I knew Rick Rypien of the Canucks was going to have a hearing with the NHL for a run-in with a fan that made its way onto YouTube before the end of Vancouver's 6-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.

So, when I walked into work and co-worker and fellow hockeyhead Jon Palmieri told me Rypien would sit for six games, I was underwhelmed: "That's all?"

Originally, I thought three to five games. Then 10. It's hard to gauge with this league.

In handing down the suspension, the NHL said Rypien - a fourth-liner/enforcer/energy-type player - "made contact with a fan." That's couched a little too lightly considering Rypien shoved 28-year-old James Engquist and appeared to grab his Minnesota jersey.

"We understand and respect the League's decision today regarding Rick Rypien. While this game is played with passion and intensity, the safety of all of our fans and players is of the utmost importance at all times," Canucks' general manger Mike Gillis in a statement.

"Throughout his career Rick has been well respected by his teammates, coaches, fellow players and our community. Rick is a valued member of our organization and we will continue to support him and all of his teammates to ensure incidents like this do not happen in the future."

Perhaps it was frustration over having his ass handed to him by the same combatant in two fights. Or that his team was already trailing by four. Or that he's struggled to produce on a team that has largely underachieved early on.

The bottom line is Rypien crossed one. The NHL had a chance to send a message to its players Friday, and as they always seem to do, came up a little short.

No comments: