Rick Rypien spoke to the media for the first time today since being involved in an incident with a fan during the Minnesota Wild game on October 19th. He has since been suspended for six games as a result of this altercation.
“First I want to apologize to the league for what happened, the coaching staff, the whole Canucks organizations, my team mates, and also thank them for their support.”
“I play the game with more emotion at times than others," he said. "And I think it was out of my character to do something like that. I don’t have a history of doing something like that. Obviously it was inexcusable what I did, and if I could take that moment back, I’d take it back.”
“At that moment I got a little emotional, but at the same time I’m not going to make excuses. I take full responsibility. The decision of the league is something I have to live with, and at the end of the day, learn from it, and never let it happen again.”
Coach Alain Vigneault expressed his full support of Rypien to the media following practice.
“He made a mistake, we all do at one point or another,” Vigneault said. “He apologized for it, we’re turning the page, and we’re moving on. I have a lot of confidence in the young man.”
When Rypien is allowed to play again next Saturday, Vigneault and the coaching staff will make the final call on where he’ll slot in upon his return.
“He’s like all the other injured players,” Vigneault replied. “We’ll see how the team is doing, and we’ll put the best line up on the ice that we can. If he’s part of it, great, if he’s not then he’ll wait his turn.”
Dan Hamhuis is still listed as day to day and will not play in tomorrow’s game against Colorado.
Keith Ballard continues to recover from symptoms of a concussion and will be out indefinitely. Hamhuis has missed three games and Ballard four with their current injuries.
Mason Raymond missed practice because of a sore hand but is expected to return tomorrow.
BURROWS CLEARED FOR CONTACT
Alex Burrows, last season’s first line regular and the team’s top goal scorer took part in his first full contact practice today, and is expected to be back in the lineup as soon as he is able.
“He just got cleared to hit,” said coach Vigneault. “So I think by the end of the week, he probably would have been ready, but he still has one more game.”
Vigneault is referring to a stipulation in how the long term injury reserve works, requiring players to sit out at least 10 games if their team receives salary cap relief from their absence.
He skated on a line with Daniel and Henrik Sedin regularly through last season and created chemistry that helped him to a career-high 67 points.
“They’ve been playing together now for a little more than two years. I think the Twins like playing with Alex, and I think Alex likes playing with the Twins, it’s a good line, they complement each other well and we’re looking forward to having him back.”
Burrows seemed cautiously optimistic about his return when he spoke after practice.
“I feel all right, but obviously I have to talk to the docs and the trainers,” he said. “And make sure that they’re 100% positive that the shoulder is fine, but personally I feel alright.”
Burrows also acknowledged that after a summer of rehab he is not ready to jump into action after only one full practice.
“If I was able to go out there I would love to, but I’ll wait, and hopefully I’ll be able to go back when I’m eligible,” he said. “It’s only my first practice with the team. I wasn’t really that good today moving the puck and reading plays, so that will take a bit of time.”
While reading plays may take time, one thing Burrows hasn’t lost is his ability to get under the skin of other players - and he’s starting with his teammates.
“I ran over Jannik [Hansen] once or twice,” Burrows said with a grin, “But that’s about it, it felt good, he likes to play big so I just wanted to show him what it’s all about.”
MANNY’S FACES OFF ON THIRD
Manny Malhotra has dominated the faceoff circle in the first eight games of the season with his League-leading 66.9% faceoff win percentage.
“I think I’ve just been able to get my timing earlier,” he said. “Taking quite a few allows you to get into that rhythm earlier. I think one thing that’s often overlooked is the intensity of wingers, jumping on loose pucks and getting those pucks that are kind of in our feet, and so far the wingers have done a fantastic job of doing it.”
According to Barry Macdonald and Matt Sekeres on the Team 1040, recent stats analyzers have found that winning a face off in the offensive zone can act like a 7-9 second power play, and all of those seconds can add up to more scoring chances.
Malhotra was awarded the first star of Friday’s game, after scoring his first and second goal of the season, as well as assisting on Raffi Torres’ 100th career goal.
“I thought we did a really good job managing the puck,” he said. “We spent a lot of time in their zone, and had sustained offensive pressure, which is what we want to accomplish every night. We did a good job playing the right way.”
Malhotra has five points this season and his consistently good play has impressed his head coach.
“I think he’s starting to get a lot more comfortable here,” said Coach V. “He’s been playing an important role in our dressing room, and on the ice it’s pretty much self explanatory, if you look at the stat sheet, his face off percentage has been really good, and he’s been able to chip in offensively, and that’s what we need from him.”