Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Rick Rypien suspended

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild practice Updated: October 20, 2010 - 11:07 AM

Update: Vancouver's Rick Rypien has been suspended indefinitely by the NHL for reaching into the stands to shove a fan.

More details on startribune.com soon.

***

About to hop on a plane for Edmonton, so I'll be out of the loop for the next 3 hours if there's no Internet on board.

I've tried (without luck) to contact the fan who was grabbed by Canucks forward Rick Rypien, and his friend/relative. If you're out there or know the young men, shoot me an email at mrusso@startribune.com and my editor, Mark Wollemann, mwollemann@startribune.com. We'd love to get your account as to what happened.

As for what will happen today, Rick Rypien will be suspended. It's just a matter of how long. It's completely unacceptable to touch a fan, especially one who did not reach over the railing like Canucks color analyst John Garrett claims here in his incredibly objective point of view.  

Commissioner Gary Bettman has to be seething. His league again appears early in ESPN's SportsCenter, not for the beauty of some of the goals or the fast pace of the game, but because one of his players attacks a fan. The league won't get this wrong, and frankly it's a no-brainer.

I think he gets 10. As for today though, it wouldn't shock me if Rypien is simply suspended indefinitely upon further review. The league may as well review everything and get its senses rather than rush a decision before Vancouver plays tonight. But guaranteed, Rick Rypien will not be playing tonight in Chicago, certainly not in Friday's Wild rematch at Vancouver and for some time.

Lots of debate going on in Twittersphere. One debate is this is Ron Artest comparable. I don't buy that for a second.

Rypien snapped for a second. He didn't go around punching fans. Regardless, completely unacceptable and he'll have time to think about it. If I were Rypien, I'd just be contrite with the Commish, admit my wrong, not make any excuses and accept my punishment.

To me, the league should also come down on him for his sucker-punch of Staubitz while he was being restrained by a linesman and his wrestling match with linesman Don Henderson. The guy was boiling over. As I wrote in the game, unfortunately for the Canucks, Rypien provided the team's only pushback.

I will say this, I bet you the Wild will have some sort of higher barrier separating fans from players next home game. There's just not a lot there to separate the fan from Manny Malhotra's work area. And Manny should be allowed to work and Kevin Bieksa should probably not just his blade onto the body of any fan, either. 

Anyway, I've go to leave the Sky Club and get to my flight. Big two games for the Wild. As coach Todd Richards said last night, you've got to string wins together in this league, and last night's win means squat if the Wild's going to revert into flatness. Also, we'll see how the flu big treats the team the next two days. No access today, but the team is definitely run down, which is why Richards cancelled today's practice.

Talk to you from Edmonton, and to the fan that Rypien engaged, give us a shout.

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