Murphy on NHL: Did Rypien have reason?

October 21, 2010, 5:06 PM

Now before everyone goes all crazy on me and starts firing off responses like:

“It still doesn’t excuse what he did…”

“That doesn’t mean he should go after a fan…”

“The fan didn’t provoke him…”

Just let me say one thing:

I know.

I am not condoning what Rick Rypien did Tuesday night in Minnesota. A player should never engage a fan unless said fan did something physical to provoke a response.

OK, now that I’ve got that out of the way, let this be said: A member of the Canucks informed me that Rypien was eye-gouged for up to 10 seconds during his altercation with Brad Staubitz by the Wild bench.

This eye gouge may or may not have been intentional, but it could explain why Rypien went off on the ice the way he did. Remember, this is a tough, tough kid that has always played the game on the edge—yet almost any NHL’er you ask will call Rypien an honest player.

Rypien was clearly incensed after his altercation with Staubitz, and while he was being escorted off the ice, he tried to go back at Staubitz after the Wild tough guy said something to him.

In his attempt to get back at Staubitz, Rypien was being restrained by official Don Henderson, and as they got close to the Canucks’ bench, Rypien appeared to shove Henderson.

Another big no-no as far as the league is concerned.

Now I’m sure by now everyone has seen the video 100 times, but if you watch again, Rypien can clearly be seen shouting at the officials: “he eye-gouged me.”

So maybe this is why the refs didn’t write Rypien up for abuse of an official, because they knew he had lost it by having a digit in his eye.

Anyway, that’s just another little piece of information on a subject that will be talked about at length for the next few days.

And yes, I know that it wasn’t the fan who eye-gouged Rypien. And I’m also quite aware that what Rypien did wasn’t right.

Now I’m going to seek legal representation for all the pain and suffering I’m about to receive from the comments you guys are about to post below.

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