Wednesday, October 20, 2010
There is a lot to be said about keeping one's emotions in check, especially in the public eye. Unfortunately, Rick Rypien of the Vancouver Canucks was not able to do this in the face of some Minnesota Wild fans and now Rypien will face the wrath of the league's disciplinarians and will sit with a suspension.
There is little argument against Rypien's contact with the fan in the stands, that sort of thing is definitely frowned upon when hundreds, thousands or millions are watching from just about anywhere in the world.
I can't defend Rypien for his actions, because he really shouldn't have done what he had done, but I can understand where he was coming from and try to find his own reasoning for what he did, which I think is only fair.
Obviously, Rypien wanted another piece of Brad Staubitz of the Wild, since they did tussle earlier in the game, to which I gave Staubitz the decision for a better quantity/quality of punches thrown and landed. I could see how Rypien may have agreed with that and wanted round two. Unfortunately, when he went to go take care of this, already hot under the collar, the officials were quick to step in and not allow a second bout. Clearly, this made Rypien far angrier, leading to an ill-advised punch while being restrained by the linesman, which may also cost Rypien from the disciplinarians on Wednesday.
It's not very often that you see Rypien terribly hot under the collar like he was last night. For the most part, he does come across very sporting with some of the other fighters in the league. There is a lead-up, there is a good bout and it's left at that... for the most part. I truly wonder what else happened in the exchange or time in the penalty box for Rypien to snap. That's something we'll never know.
When Rypien was being escorted the ice, he had to be restrained even further, which really had me thinking that he didn't want this altercation to end, because there was really a grudge to be settled.
Now, what happens on the ice is all fine and dandy for sporting and entertainment purposes and we all have a general idea how emotional this sport can be on a regular basis. As people, emotions run high for long stretches before a person is able to cool down and that kind of time differs from person to person. Clearly, the time from stepping off the ice and starting into the tunnel back to the dressing room was not enough time for Rypien to cool down.
Now, as a fan, we all like to have a good time when we go to our favourite team's sporting events. We get to cheer on our guys, scream and cheer when they score, win a fight, make a great defensive play and/or win the game. We even get to taunt the opposition, raining down boos (of course, that doesn't just happen to the opposition some nights) and try to get into the opposition's heads with all sorts of taunts, be it gestures or chants. Fortunately, in 99% of the cases where fans are taunting the participants of the sport, there is either glass, boards or some elevation that stands in the way of the fans and the players, which keeps everyone safe and happy and the game just goes on like any other game on any other night.
When we do chant and taunt the players, be it the opposition for the sake of being the opposition or our own players for having a stinker of a performance, we the fans want to get into their heads. That is the whole purpose of doing what we do in the bleachers/stands. If we see the opposition falter or make a mistake, we feel like we've done our jobs to help our team succeed.
Clearly, the guy in the stands that was clapping (unclear if he was yapping as well) towards Rypien, who was walking off the ice, wanted to get in his head and Rypien wanted to rip something a new something. There's a lot to be said when there is a pane of glass in between the two in question, but when there is only a 3-inch railing and maybe 36 inches separating the two (clearly meaning an open shot), a testosterone-filled pugilist is going to take that shot.
The fan got what he wanted in the end, to get into Rypien's head and I truly believe he was lucky that he wasn't hurt to any sort of degree. I could only imagine the shit storm that would have come down on the Canucks, Rypien and the league if more damage had been done.
Again, I don't support what Rypien did in this case, but I can at least reason with him a little bit. As a Canucks fan myself, I will accept any punishment that the NHL hands down without question, be it three games, ten game or more. That was an unacceptable action and should be punished. It is not my place to say how severe the punishment should be, it is just my place to sit and take whatever the league hands out.