By Adam Hoge –
You would think if a Canuck player were to go after a fan, it would happen in Chicago.
Vancouver center Rick Rypien was suspended indefinitely by the league Wednesday after he grabbed a fan during the Canucks’ 6-2 loss at Minnesota Tuesday night (see video below).
The incident happened on the eve of the Blackhawks first meeting of the season with Vancouver and considering the rivalry that has developed between these two teams, emotions are sure to run high at the United Center tonight.
Oh yeah, the Canucks also lost that game 6-2 to the Wild and are off to a rough 2-3-1 start.
“I’m sure they’re not too happy with that (incident) and the loss. I know they got beat up pretty bad,” Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane said after Wednesday’s morning skate. “I’m sure it will be another good game. Vancouver-Chicago, probably another entertaining game for fans to watch.”
Rypien grabbed the fan as he was headed to the locker room after being assessed a double minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct in the second period. The fan was standing at the railing applauding at the time.
“That’s something you never really want to see, is somone grab a fan,” Kane said. “Especially for the fans. They are pretty much the only reason why we play this game and are able to play this game. But I kind of feel bad for both sides. I feel bad for the kid that was there and I feel bad for Rick too because I know how heated games can get.”
The players and coaches are all well aware of what happened with Vancouver last night in St. Paul. Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith — who playfully squirted water at a Predators fan in Nashville last April – did not want to comment on Rypien’s incident last night, but at least one other player took a more lighthearted approach on the subject.
“I guess he got tired of fighting the players,” winger Viktor Stalberg said.
Something tells me there will be more fighting between players tonight.
Video: Vancouver’s Rick Rypien grabs Minnesota Wild fan
Joel Quenneville talks Rypien, Canucks rivalry and concussions in NHL and NFL