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Friday October 22, 2010 6:03 pm

Rick Rypien dealt six games for attacking fan

Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, NHL,

Rick RypienSix games? Rick Rypien was suspended for only six games? After attempting to jump into the crowd during a game against the Wild last week, Rypien will watch his Vancouver teammates from home after receiving the professional sports equivalent to a slap on the wrist. We don’t know what Rypien’s actual intent was in going after the fan before being pulled away, but it’s not likely that he was attempting to get closer to the fan to give him a stern talking to.

Sure, the fan was alright after Rypien was restrained, but that’s beside the point. Rypien had no business doing anything more than even acknowledging the fan’s existence, regardless of what that fan said. Rypien is a first-time offender, so that probably helps justify the staggeringly small number of games, but six is still far from a number that will deter this kind of behavior from any players going forward. Perhaps this ruling is relative to Niklas Hjalmarsson’s two-game suspension for hitting Jason Pominville from behind a few weeks ago. Maybe the NHL is saying that attacking a fan is exactly three-times worse than hitting from behind.

How does the NHL get away with a six game suspension when the NBA suspended Ron Artest in 2004 for the remainder of his season, 73 games, for a similar act. No, Rypien didn’t actually beat up the fan, so maybe the NHL thinks that physical contact is worth 67 games. Or maybe they’re just going off of precedent. Matthew Barnaby was suspended for four games in 2000 as a member of the Penguins when he attacked a fan.

Chances are the NHL is doing exactly what it always does; protecting its big name players, even though they are rarely involved in the actual situations. If Rypien was given 30 or 40 games, even, what happens if somebody like Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin then goes and attacks a fan? Can the NHL justify not giving an equal punishment? A player playing an emotional game and losing his cool is no excuse for what Rypien did. Six games is an insult to the culture.



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