TORONTO (AP) - Vancouver Canucks enforcer Rick Rypien was suspended indefinitely Wednesday, pending a hearing, for grabbing a fan Tuesday night in a loss in Minnesota.
While headed to locker room after being assessed a double minor for roughing and 10-minute misconduct in the second period, Rypien reached up and shoved James Engquist, a 28-year-old fan applauding at the railing.
Rypien was pulled away by teammate Manny Malhotra, and Engquist and his brother, Peter, were removed from the area.
Rypien and Minnesota's Brad Staubitz, who fought in the first period, were about to square off midway through the second before being separated by the linesmen in front of the Wild bench. Rypien punched Staubitz while he was being restrained.
Engquist told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis that he's "definitely seeking legal representation. ... I was assaulted, that's just the bottom line."
"I was just standing straight up applauding as he was getting kicked out," Engquist said. "He was out of control. And then I said, 'Way to be professional,' and he obviously didn't care for that comment and decided to grab me and almost dragged me over the rail. If my brother wasn't grabbing me and the other player wasn't grabbing him, he probably would have dragged me over the edge."
Rypien was in the penalty box to start the third period, but didn't play in the period.
After the hearing, the NHL will determine the length of the suspension. Players can be suspended for five games or more if they are summoned for a hearing, although that doesn't mean they will be banned for that long.
The league has handed out five suspensions and four fines in the past 10 days.
"We'll let things unfold from here," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said Wednesday night before the Canucks' game in Chicago. "I'm going to save my comments until after the league does their investigation and comes up with a decision."
Vignault said he expected the hearing with Colin Campbell, the league's senior executive vice president of hockey operations, to be held Friday.
Rypien didn't travel with the team to Chicago.