Every so often in professional sports there is an incident where an athlete apparently loses their cool and completely flips out. Often we attribute this to the over using of steroids or the under using of prescribed medications. More often than not, these incidents are shockingly absurd but mostly amusing for a spectator and do not result in much more than a weeks worth of headlines. The most recent example of one of these situations comes to us by way of the National Hockey League and Vancouver Canucks tough guy, Rick Rypien.
If you haven't watched the video that has made Rick Rypien a household name amongst the hockey loving public then you clearly have had your head somewhere that it shouldn't be. In my opinion, Rypien just might be the 'pound for pound' toughest guy in the NHL. Hockeyfights.com and youtube both have marvelous collection of evidence that can support this claim but even if you disagree, you still have to admit that the guy can chuck 'em. In a road game versus the Minnesota Wild, Rypien gets into an altercation with Wild forward Brad Staubitz. Rypien then attempts to reenacts his favorite clip of 'The Champ' as he SNAPS, LOSES IT and over reacts. The following melee ensues...
The obvious initial thoughts are that Rypien is a complete nutcase and has spazzed completely out of control. Watching it back, I even half expect Rypien to turn into a giant green hulk and lay waste to the entire stadium. Rypien obviously snapped but to label him the only nutcase in this situation would not be fair to the other parties involved. Not to be outdone by the seemingly frenzied Rypien, James Engquist the Minnesota fan in the video, has decided to lay his loony trump card and is seeking legal action against Rypien and the Vancouver Canucks. When asked about why he is seeking legal action, Engquist stated that he was, "assaulted, that's just the bottom line."
“ASSUALTED”!? Are you kidding me? For that you say you were “assaulted”? I suppose that there is the defense that Engquist has grown up in a society that condones suing for anything but this is unbelievable to me. I would pay thousands of dollars for the chance to be defense council for Rick Rypien in this situation. I my mind, it would play out something like this...
Prosecution: Your honor, as you can see from the peoples' evidence exhibit 'A', the video clearly shows the defendant Mr. Rypien is assaulting my client Mr. Engquist.
Defense(me): Objection your honor! The plaintiff is obviously a huge pussy and this is all a waste of everyone's time.
Judge: Sustained. The case is dismissed and the defendant is free to go. The plaintiff however will be forced by the court to shake all of the sand out of his vagina and encouraged to grow a set of balls.
It makes me embarrassed to be a hockey fan that this waste of skin Engquist is allowed to represent us in the newspapers. If I got shoved by a player at a game I would brag about it to all of my friends instead of getting all butt hurt and calling a lawyer. What an absolute disgrace. A friend of mine got pushed in bar once by Georges Laraque..... I thought that it was the coolest thing ever!
As hockey fans, we condone certain levels of violence in our game because it makes the game more exciting and we revere the players themselves for being tough. Shouldn't we the fans hold ourselves to some sort of similar standard? This incident has made me think back to all of the times the word 'assault' has come up in the game of hockey and allowed me to compile my top 5 'assault-able' moments...
#5 Marty McSorely
Aging tough guy Marty McSorely does his best Vladimir Guerrero impression using Donald Brashear's head as a 2-0 fastball.
#4 Todd Bertuzzi
I would personally like to thank Todd Bertuzzi for allowing me to use 'bertuzzi' as a verb. When I saw the video from the Jersey Shore where Snookie gets fed an ambien to the face... my first thought was “whoa, that chick just got Bertuzzi'd”
#3 Jonathan Roy
This prince of hockey shows some of the aggression that made his dad such a great player but comes off as a douche by fighting a goalie that clearly did not want to fight. Trying to make his own in the game, Jonathan was going for a Roy vs. Vernon type fight but ended up in hot water with the po-po.
#2 Rob Ray
This fan just didn't seem to get the point.... so he had to be told over, and over and over and over....... Now if our boy Engquist could take 10 to 15 good ones from Rob Ray then maybe I would understand him seeking legal council.
#1 The Boston Bruins
If fans are going to sue every time a player even looks at them funny then this brawl would've tied up the legal system for the next 20 years!! There is not a doubt in my mind that Ron Artest grew up a Bruins fan and drew inspiration from this fight for his own brawl with some fans.
This list is not anywhere near complete as there are plenty incidents of hockey players seemingly losing their minds and taking it out on someone. Honorable mentions go to Tie Domi for his squabble with a fan in the penalty box and Craig MacTavish for ripping out the tongue of Flames mascot Harvey the Hound. The point is that if some knucklehead fan like Engquist should find himself on the receiving end of another encounter with a hockey player, then at least take a look at similar situations before you start throwing out words like 'assault'. Rick Rypien is definitely an ass-clown for losing his temper on a fan but did he assault James Engquist?... Hell no! Get your head out of your ass and give it a shake Jimmy, you're an embarrassment.
Yours in hockey,
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