If the NHL is giving out 2 game suspensions for gestures and 3 games for blindside headshots that do no damage, then what do they give Rick Rypien for going after a fan? On a night where the scoreboard was bad enough, tough-guy Rypien tried to take his frustration out on Minnesota Wild’s Brad Staubitz. When the refs prevented him from fully expressing himself, he decided to introduce himself to a fan on his way off the ice. Here’s the video for those of you who are a little more visual.
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.
Let’s throw it to you. How many games do you think Rypien should get for his “transgressions?” 5 games? 10 games? 20 games? For a league that has spent the first week of the season trying to set a tough standard, this could be a long one. According to Michael Russo, a preliminary hearing is set for Wednesday, so we’ll know soon. But hey, at least he didn’t jump into the stands to confront the fans.
For the record, I’d like to see the suspension set in the 10 game range. No, he never threw a punch; but coming into physical contact (and even initiating it) is a line that athletes can never cross.
(Update 10/20/10: Rypien has been suspended indefinitely pending an in-person hearing with the league Friday morning, 10/22)