How should NHL penalize Rypien for grabbing fan?

Sit him for 10 games

Ron Fritz

Baltimore Sun

Rick Rypien of the Vancouver Canucks needs to be suspended and forced to attend anger-management sessions. I'm thinking 10 games would give him enough time to reflect on his poor decision to grab a Minnesota Wild fan after Rypien had been tossed from the game.

In looking at the replay, it didn't look like the fan was doing much more than clapping and it certainly didn't look like he did enough to warrant being grabbed. But I didn't get to hear what the fan might have said about Rypien's momma. And I certainly understand Rypien's frustration after losing a fight to Brad Staubitz of the Wild and then being pushed around by an NHL linesman.

But athletes cross the line when they go after paying customers.

Rypien is allowed to take matters into his own hands on the ice, not off it. Take a seat.

rtfritz@tribune.com

Give him 15-game ban

Joseph Schwerdt

Sun Sentinel

Upon further review, it appears Rick Rypien's actions were inexcusable. Hockey obviously is an emotional and confrontational sport, but Rypien's actions clearly crossed the line.

The replay of his attack on a Wild fan shows no physical provocation on the fan's part. Sure, some fans can be jackasses. Some drink too much, scream foul language and toss objects or drinks onto the ice. And while no player-fan confrontation is acceptable, it's understandable in some extreme situations.

Who knows what this fan said as he applauded Rypien's departure from the game? But Rypien needed to lift himself above that, ignore the fan and walk away. The NHL should suspend him for no less than 15 games. And if he does it again, consider a season-long exile. Three strikes and he should be out for good.

jschwerdt@tribune.com

Have to make him pay

Helene Elliott

Los Angeles Times

When the Canucks' Rick Rypien grabbed a fan at a Wild game earlier this week he violated a golden rule of business: Don't manhandle the paying customers.

A suspension of at least 15 games is warranted. And since he's not a high-paid star — he's scheduled to earn $550,000 this season — losing a proportional chunk of his salary will hurt him a lot.

We don't know what the fan might have said to trigger Rypien's rage. But Rypien, a well-conditioned professional athlete wearing full gear, has no business putting a hand on anyone but another player.

You can make the joke that the NHL needs all the fans it can get and can't afford to let ticket-holders get roughed up, but there's a serious point here about boundaries and Rypien crossing one that should not have been breached.

helliott@tribune.com

Make him an example

Bob Foltman

Chicago Tribune

On Dec. 23, 1979, some members of the Bruins went into the stands at Madison Square Garden and fought Rangers fans. Mike Milbury dispossessed one fan of his shoe and started hitting him with it. For that, then-NHL President John Ziegler suspended Milbury for six games and fined him $500.

How times have changed. Now the NHL frowns upon attacking the paying customers. Tuesday's incident in St. Paul between the Canucks' Rick Rypien and a fan didn't come close to the rumble in the Garden, but expect Rypien to face a far more severe punishment from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

So Bettman could, and should, make an example of Rypien. Speculation is that it will be between five and 15 games. I think it may be higher, perhaps up to 20.

rfoltman@tribune.com

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