winger Rick Rypien
said Monday that he accepts full responsibility for his altercation with a fan last week at the Xcel Energy Center and he hopes that the incident will not define his tenure in the NHL.
In his first public comments since the League suspended Rypien for six games last Friday, the Canucks forward said he has apologized to his teammates and to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. He did not reveal what, if anything, he has said to the fan he grabbed as he walked down the tunnel in last Tuesday's game against Minnesota, insisting those dealings remain "private."
Rypien made contact with the fan as he was heading down the tunnel to the dressing room after drawing a double-minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct for an altercation with Minnesota's Brad Staubitz
at the 13:38 mark of the second period of an eventual 6-2 loss. As he left the playing bench, Rypien reached up and pushed a spectator who was applauding at the railing separating the stands from the tunnel.
The six-game ban is the longest suspension for player-fan interaction since March 20, 1982 when Vancouver's Doug Halward was suspended for seven games.
"It's inexcusable what I did," Rypien told Vancouver reporters Monday. "The decision I made at that moment is something I'd like to take back. At the end of the day, I want to learn from it and never let it happen again."
"It's inexcusable what I did. The decision I made at that moment is something I'd like to take back. At the end of the day, I want to learn from it and never let it happen again."
-- Rick Rypien
Rypien's teammate Daniel Sedin
also spoke Monday about the incident, touching upon it during a wide-ranging interview on NHL Live!
"I think it was tougher for Ryp, but we tried to support him as much as we could," Daniel said. "Now he's got his suspension and he's dealing with it. For the team it's not a big issue. We come to the rink and try to play as hard as we can and hope we get some wins."
Rypien has already served two of the six game of his suspension and is eager to return to action. He is eligible to return Nov. 6, against Detroit.
Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault
appears eager to have Rypien back in the fold.
"I'm sure he told you he made a mistake," Vigneault said. "We all do at one point or another. I know I have. He made a mistake, he apologized for it and we're turning the page and moving on. We have a lot of confidence in that young man."