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Vancouver Canucks' Rick Rypien fights Edmonton Oilers' Zach Stortini during first period NHL hockey action in Edmonton on Monday, October 19, 2009. Rypien has been suspended indefinitely for grabbing a fan on Tuesday night. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jimmy Jeong

Jimmy Jeong

The Minnesota Wild fan grabbed by Canucks forward Rick Rypien is considering legal action. He told the Star Tribune as much Wednesday, saying he is "definitely seeking legal representation. ... I was assaulted, that's just the bottom line."

Rypien was suspended indefinitely by the NHL, pending a hearing Friday. Wild fan James Engquist, 28, spoke with NHL security, but hasn't heard from the Rypien or the two teams involved, according to the Star Tribune.

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In a litigation-crazed world, securing counsel is the next procedural step for a customer who likely feels entitled to something. A little more surprising is the league and teams did not come out more forcefully Wednesday, and issue an affirmation that their patrons' safety is paramount.

Nobody involved wants to prejudice Rypien's hearing, but there's enough plain-as-day evidence, and this is such a bedrock issue, that it probably deserved more than:

"Vancouver Canucks forward Rick Rypien has been suspended, pending a hearing, as a result of becoming involved in an altercation with a fan during NHL Game #76 last night in Minnesota. The incident took place at 13:38 of the second period. The League will have no comment until the matter has been resolved."

Maybe it's a case of saying nothing and carrying a big stick. Either way, The Day After wasn't kind to Rypien.

The story played prominently in the U.S., by ESPN and outlets where casual hockey fans, and non-fans, would have seen the video. On Vancouver radio, Canucks fans that once rallied around easy-villain Todd Bertuzzi recognized the gravity of Rypien's sin. Critics sounded off in dressing rooms throughout the league, everyone understanding that 'you just can't do that.'

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About the Author
B.C. sports correspondent

Based in Vancouver, Matthew spearheads the Globe's sports coverage in B.C., and spends most of his time with the NHL Canucks and CFL Lions. He has worked for four dailies and TSN since graduating from Carleton University's School of Journalism a decade ago, and has covered the Olympic Games, Super Bowls, Grey Cups, the Stanley Cup playoffs and the NBA Finals. More

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