Rypien Attack Sparks Debate

From the NY Times Slap Shot blog:

It would be nice to talk about the game for a change because as Ted
Kulfan in The Detroit News
observed today, “Suspensions, bad
behavior and illegal hits have been the rage the first few weeks of the
hockey season.”

The controversy du jour is incident from Tuesday, in which the
Canucks’ Rick Rypien attacked a fan at the Xcel Energy Center during a
road game against the Wild, which most hockey fans have seen by now. It
was a rare hockey highlight on ESPN’s SportsCenter, ensuring another hit
to the league’s image among non-hockey fans, who rarely are exposed to
all that which makes the game great.

Of course, hockey is often its own worst enemy, as the contrast between
the two game telecasts reveals. Here’s how the episode was seen on
Minnesota’s Fox Sports North in which the announcers recognize Rypien
has crossed the line (video) and here it is from Sportsnet Pacific which puts all the onus on the
arena and the spectator and excuses the player (video).

The NHL On TSN panel last night examined the incident (video) and
Craig MacTavish, who was involved in a couple of infamous episodes,
including this one as a Bruin in 1979 (video– he’s number 32 in the famous Mike Milbury shoe beating incident), excuses Rypien because the area behind the bench is
unsecured, the fans get “eyeball-to-eyeball” with the players and
coaches and “it threatens your manhood.” For some reason — most likely
the emotions that accompany a hard-fought game — simply ignoring a
non-participant who mouths off is not an option for MacTavish.

Continue reading “The Morning Skate: Rypien Attack Sparks Debate” >>


  1. Duracell3 says:

    100% right. The way this guy tells it Rypein had him on all fours with the branding iron. He literally grabs his jersey and half-pushes the guy.

  2. observer says:

    bettmans refs only calling penalties on habs tonight? wonder why?

  3. observer says:

    half game over – id say habs have NOT had a single scoring chance. 2 of the most boring teams – martins defensive strategy and devils. tickets should be 50 cents maximum for red seats.

  4. observer says:

    terrible display by the habs. can martin not prepare this team after 5 off days?

  5. davecessna says:

    Mr Hackel can you kindly refrain from burying the gameday thread with this garbage?

  6. showey47 says:

    Though i don’t condone what rypien did because the players are professionals and have to be the bigger person and walk away. I couldn’t help but shake my head at the fan who was involved in the altercation. He (James something or other) called nhlxm204 and got himself on satellite radio to tell his story which he pretty much said he didn’t do anythig and wanted to just get on with his life then went on to say he  hired a lawyer and is looking to  press assault charges. So really,instead of just wanting to get on with his life like he says he wants. He is looking for his 15 minutes of fame and an out of court cash settlement.

  7. Ian Cobb says:

    Can not touch a mouthy paying customer, end of story. But after saying that, it is the responsibility of the rink security and management to keep players and fans apart with proper dividers etc.

  8. nick says:

    These guys are paid millions of dollars to be professional athletes.

    There was nothing professional about Rypien’s conduct. Sure, fans were close, he was agitated, etc etc…

    This guy sees millions of fans each and every season… All of a sudden this one kid with the wrong colored jersey who’s clapping sets him off? Please…

    The league should suspend Rypien for a couple games, 5-10…

    Minnesota needs to put up a barrier of some sort in order to protect both fans and players.

    I honestly can’t blame the fan… He wasn’t reaching over to get into Rypiens face… He was standing at his seat – clapping mockingly. Since when is this a crime in a sports stadium?


  9. Ian Cobb says:

    All true Nick, but what came out of the fans mouth? You just don’t know.

  10. lefreak says:

    suspension needs to be among the harshest possible to send a message. 20 games imo.


    you don’t grab a paying customer that claps and jeers you out of frustration…this is possibly more boneheaded than the mcsorley slash. he needs to sit for a long time and reflect on being an idiot.

  11. Duracell3 says:

    Domi got 0 games for beating the shit out of a guy.


    To say he even “attacked” him is overboard, he at the very most grabbed him. Although he is acting like a 15 year old brat, on further inspection he looks to be a fully grown man. This is incredibly weak. 2-5 games.

  12. AH says:

    Agreed, let’s hope the NHL ie (Cambell) doesn’t embarass themselves AGAIN, and come up with some 2-3 game BS slap on the wrist decision.

  13. mike g says:

    This has nothing to do with what the fan said…

    Rick’s a professional hockey player. He has the job to deal with and cope with wtv people say about him. He could have simply gotten into a little trash talk with the fan and not touched him.

    But when you let the words get to you, and physically engage with a fan, as a professional athelete you must get punished accordingly.

    10 games is what he should get.


    “These head movies make my eyes rain” -Simple Jack

     I got AK at under 64.5 pts, with Triple X and Tom Nickle.

  14. Ian Cobb says:

    I said I agreed with Nick. You just can not touch a spectater, thats for sure. But he said the fan was only clapping. I just asked, what came out of the fans mouth.!

  15. nick says:

    While thats true… I’m sure he’s heard far worse from guys like Avery… among others. You’d think he’s used to it by now.

    Heh… who knows… maybe he’s just really really sensitive, and no one ever took the time to care :)

  16. bwoar says:

    After being such a dork with the late punch on the ice you’d think Rypien would have the good sense to get into the dressing room immediately.  The fans are completely blameless here.

    If you ever meet Mark Lamb, ask him how much fun it was when he took penalties in Winnipeg.

  17. aemarchand11 says:

    Sportsnet announcing is sub-par..

    Juss’ Sayin

    Go Habs Go!

  18. madcap_habsfan says:

    A player should NEVER lay hands on a fan UNLESS being provoked first..i’ve seen videos of fans taunting players then it makes it a little more grey but the fan in this case was clapping , as any of us habs fans would do if someone from another team was harassing one of our players, that doesn’t warrant being touched at all



    -“People have to really suffer before they can risk doing what they love.” Chuck Palahniuk

  19. lefreak says:

    the fan brought himself into the playing field aka was fair game/self defense (even if tie beat him up it is justified and a court of law would most likely see it this way.)


    Rypien = messed up, and fan was in his seat without making any threatening gesture. Rypien was frustrated, not the fan’s fault. The blame lies in the player in this one 100%, the same can’t be said for the domi incident.


    he just “grabbed him”, for sure…that being said the law considers this as an assault all of the same. You can get arrested for this same behaviour on the street, regardless of how weak you think it was. A player does not touch a fan unless he feels threatened, or is in any physical danger. End of story.;)

  20. Duracell3 says:

    Not sure where you live, but in my time I’ve seen literally hundreds of people pushed. Trust me NONE of them were charged with assault. Not even close.

  21. HabsFanInTampa says:

    Can that fan sue for assault?

  22. aemarchand11 says:

    Appearently he is going to press charges… I find it rediculous, he was just ragdolled, nothing more. If rypien actually punched him then it would be different.

    Just another case of a persons 20 seconds of fame….

    Kyrpeos put it best on twitter, in regards to how the fan sure seemed to be enjoying himself (when he was moved to front row seats) for someone who was just “assaulted”


    Go Habs Go!

  23. Everlasting1 says:

    Are there lawyers?


    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

    Don’t pollute the water.

  24. homerbowen says:

    Yes it’s bad but what about haed shots?

  25. Everlasting1 says:

    Yea, the ‘league’s image’ has suffered irreparable damage over some 20 yr old losing his temper. The league must take strong measures in ensuring that this never happens again! Geez.


    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

    Don’t pollute the water.

  26. Everlasting1 says:

    I won’t overstate the severity of the assault, but at the very least the fan deserves a personal apology from Rypien.


     “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

    Don’t pollute the water.

  27. nick says:

    How would you feel if you were ragdolled by Chara or something at a Habs game after paying a couple hundred bucks for tickets? The guys been thrown around the news “oh he shouldn’t have been doing this or that…”

    I’d be a little pissed if it were me an all I was doing was standing there clapping.

    I didn’t pay 300$ to get rag dolled and have my image dragged through the news as being a bad fan or an instigator of some sort.


  28. HabsChick says:

    I agree entirely. While I think people are generally too sue-
    happy, I think this guy has every right to sue Rypien & I’m sure more than one lawyer has contacted him if he needed some convincing.
    My prediction is 10 games Which I also happen to think would be fair.

  29. Penneywize says:

    I sincerely doubt anyone catching random hockey highlights on ESPN is going to have their image of the game shattered. Seriously. Besides, in 10 years who’s going to even care what’s on ESPN? Sports highlight shows are a dying breed.

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