I still stand by my post about Rypien. He did act like a moron and he did disappoint me as a fan. But Justin Bourne has a really interesting post up on Puck Daddy about fan abuse from a NHL player’s perspective that explores Rypien’s side of things more clearly.
I’ve heard the comparison this week that the NHL is the equivalent of a workplace. And you’re not allowed to grab and be tempted to punch a paying customer in your workplace. A good code of conduct to be sure but the NHL is a very untraditional workplace. Am I going to have someone booing me and swearing at me and making inappropriate comments about my gender identity while I sit there and collate copies? Not so much. You would hope that an incident like this wouldn’t happen but these guys aren’t cyborgs. They lose their cool and do stupid things just like anyone of us would. I hope the Canucks, the NHL, and the Wild can apologize to that fan and everyone can move on without a stupid law suit.
That was an interesting game against the Hawks. It was nice to see how well the Canucks matched up with the Cup champs. But the offensive output is incredibly weak unless your last name is Sedin and the team as a whole looked frustratingly out of sync at times. Vancouver curses even formerly hardy iron man like defencemen to injury (Ballard and Hamhuis). If a defensive pairing of Bieksa and Parent doesn’t have you crying to your mummy while clutching a rum bottle you’re a stronger person than I am.
Luongo was fabulous in regulation and then an absolute disastah in the shootout. WHY does AV never make them practice the damn shootout!?!? Manny Malhotra is a faceoff god. He’s at SIXTY.EIGHT percent for the season! I have a case of Manny Fever. Danny Sedin is such a tasty treat to watch right now. His shootout goal was gasp worthy. He could hit 50 goals at this rate! There are some good signs here. Hopefully with Alex Burrows coming back fairly soon and some defencemen getting healthy the guys will get on a real roll.
[Editor's note: I don't mean to hijack Alix's post, but I do want to add one thing. While I don't condone what Rypien did - and let's be clear that we all think what he did was wrong - it's interesting to read Justin's perspective on this. When I worked at GM Place, I obviously heard fans taunt players from opposing teams. Some were made in the name of good, clean fun; some were vulgar and crude. I heard fans taunt Shawn Kemp about his whores and Chris Pronger about his wife. Once, a fan standing by the players' tunnel even challenged Steve Francis to hit him. (IIRC, his exact words were, "Francis you're a mother f******. You're p**** a** b****. What are you gonna do, hit me? Come on hit me mother f******.") If Kemp, Pronger or Francis had roughed up any of these fans, it would still be wrong. But to be honest, I don't think the fans who yelled and taunted those things would have been completely blameless either. Respect is a two-way street, and paying any amount of money for a ticket doesn't buy the right to treat anyone in a derogatory manner. Again, I'm not blaming the fan the Rypien incident; I'm just saying that some fans, unfortunately, do cross the line. - J.J.]