Rypien gets 6 games

Rick Rypien will serve a six-game suspension following his altercation with a Wild fan earlier this...

Rick Rypien will serve a six-game suspension following his altercation with a Wild fan earlier this week. (QMI Agency/Carmine Marinelli)

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:08 PM ET

With a sentence that seems to fit the crime, the NHL suspended Vancouver Canucks forward Rick Rypien for six games for grabbing a fan in Minnesota Tuesday night.

But the incident appears to be far from closed.

The Canucks were also fined $25,000 for the incident which saw Rypien, who had just been kicked out of the Canucks game with the Minnesota Wild, grab 28-year-old Wild fan James Engquist by the front of his Wild jersey as Rypien made his way to the Canucks dressing room and shake him a couple of times.

“Prior to each season, all clubs and players are advised that under no circumstances are club personnel permitted to have physical contact with fans, or enter, or attempt to enter the stands,” said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who took part in a hearing with Rypien at the NHL offices in New York Friday morning.

“We hold NHL players to a high standard, and there simply is no excuse for conduct of this nature. Fortunately, this incident is not typical of the way NHL players conduct themselves and is not typical of the way Mr. Rypien had conducted himself during his career.”

Including a game he has already missed, Rypien will be eligible to return Nov. 6 against the Detroit Red Wings.

While the NHL is moving on from the incident, it appears there could still be a lawsuit in the works.

Engquist told the Minnepolis Star Tribune he is “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. 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,” said Engquist.

“If my brother wasn’t grabbing me and the other player wasn’t grabbing him, he probably would have dragged me over the edge.”

All NHL players, coaches and general managers received a memorandum in August about contact with fans.

“Under no circumstances are Club personnel - either players or non-players - permitted to have physical contact with fans, or enter, or attempt to enter the stands. Even where a fan is verbally abusive, intoxicated, or profane, Club personnel should either ignore the conduct or, where appropriate, seek the assistance of police or security personnel at the arena.

“Accordingly, please be on notice that all Club personnel (management, coaches, trainers, and/or players) who engage in any form of physical contact with fans, including the squirting of water, will, on a going forward basis, be subject to discipline in the form of a suspension. The Club involved will also be subject to a fine.”

Rypien’s six-game suspension is the longest for a player-fan incident since 1982 when another Canuck player, Doug Halward, was suspended for seven games.

Canucks president and general manager Mike Gillis released this statement following Rypien’s suspension: “We understand and respect the League’s decision today regarding Rick Rypien. While this game is played with passion and intensity, the safety of all of our fans and players is of the utmost importance at all times. Throughout his career Rick has been well respected by his teammates, coaches, fellow players and our community. Rick is a valued member of our organization and we will continue to support him and all of his teammates to ensure incidents like this do not happen in the future.”

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