There are a few absolute truths in this world, but none that seem to be bigger than the adage of "Never bite the hand that feeds you". If you're a dog and bite the hand that feeds you, chances are that the person feeding you may not want to do that again, and you might be given away to another family. In hockey, there is no excuse for a player engaging into any sort of scuffle with a fan. I don't care if the fan is the rudest, meanest jerk on this side of Jerkville, players simply cannot be unprofessional and allow their emotions to run wild.
Tuesday night, however, saw Rick Rypien go wild at the XCel Energy Center against a fan of the Minnesota Wild. Take a look:
I've always like Rick Rypien. He was a solid player while with the Manitoba Moose, and he was a fine player with the Vancouver Canucks. I've never seen this side of him before, so it's not like the man has a history of doing stuff like this.
However, I see a lengthy suspension on this one. If there is one thing that Gary Bettman has made clear, it's that the NHL will be as fan-friendly as possible. Or, in this case, the absolute opposite of what Rypien did.
No word on when the hearing is yet, but this one could be a long time-out for Rypien. And it should serve notice to any other player that this type of behavior from a player will be harshly punished.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!