Basically I didn't want to take up a front pager with this thing, but I wanted to gauge Lighthouse Hockey readerdom's reactions to the Rypien incident last night in which he grabbed a fan in the stands during Vancouver's 6-2 loss to the Wild in St. Paul. Video and my take after the jump.So I watched the game live last night and was dumbstruck by what happened.I honestly couldn't believe my eyes as to what was happening. First off, Rypien should have been off the ice as soon as he threw the punch at Brad Staubitz while Stuabitz was being held back by the linesmen and was unable to retaliate. That alone I think in today's Wheel of Justice NHL was suspension worthy. So then as he's leaving, the fan is clapping (and we also don't know what was said), but no physical provocation, no boundary crossing by the fan, Rypien reaches up and grabs the guy.
While it's no Madman Mike Milbury, Terry O'Reilly and crew going up into the crowd at MSG (Although seeing a Rags fan beaten with his own shoe is beyond hilarious...), he also wasn't physically provoked like Tie Domi was in Philadelphia nine years ago. Botta is saying he should be done for a quarter of the season, while Nathan over at Hockey Wilderness is comparing it to the Malice at the Palace. This is a rather unique situation in all the other cases of Athlete-Fan interaction, the athletes have been physically provoked. In the Bruin's case it was a Rags fan taking a B's stick out of his hands. With Domi is was a fan throwing beer on him while in the penalty box (Stay classy, Philadelphia!). And with the Malice at the Palace, it was a fan pouring beer on Artest.
So what's your verdict? Mine is 30-40 games, half the season. While he might have been taunted and it wasn't as bad as other incidents, Rypien wasn't physically provoked and initiated the physical violence.