October 25, 2010
Canucks ruffian Rick Rypien(notes) met the Vancouver media for the first time since he was suspended six games for attacking a Minnesota Wild fan named James Engquist last week, expressing his regret for the altercation and setting a new North American record for most uses of the word "obviously" in a three-minute span.
"First, obviously I want to apologize to the league for what happened ... the coaching staff, the whole Canucks organization and obviously my teammates, and thank them for their support [during] what happened here," said Rypien in opening remarks, before touching on the altercation and if anything with a Wild player helped instigate it.
You can listen to the interview (.mp3) over on the Vancouver Team 1040 website, but we've transcribed that Q&A here for your consumption. And speaking of consumption, feel free to play along with the "Rick Rypien: Obviously" drinking game, in which you drink for each utterance of the word. May we suggest a delicious Granville Island English Pale Ale?
Q. [Can] you take us through it though?
"It's pretty much something I don't want to revisit again, and go back to. I play the game at more emotion at times than others. I think that was out of character to do something like that. I don't have a history of doing stuff like that. Obviously it was inexcusable what I did, and obviously if you could take that moment back you take it back."
Q. It is emotion getting the better of you at a moment like that?
"I think I just got caught up in the moment. Obviously it's a huge thing I can learn from. Obviously move forward and obviously not going to happen again."
Q. Rick, you've been in fights before, and usually when you fight in a visiting arena, people are going to yell at you. What was different about this one?
"Ah, like I said: Heat of the moment, everyone got caught up in it. It's something that you obviously don't want to revisit again. I know the attraction of all that happened there. Obviously I'm just going to learn from it and move forward. It's something I don't want to revisit what happened there."
Q. What did you say to Gary [Bettman]?
"Those guys were really good to me. Told them my part of it, and they were pretty supportive. I take full responsibility for what I did out there, but they were more than respectful towards me."
Q. Were there extenuating circumstances on the ice, Ryp, that got you a little more upset than normal?
"Yeah, at the start there. Whatever happened. I'm not going to make excuses. I obviously didn't like what was happening to me at the start there with [Wild pugilist Brad] Staubitz. But obviously I'm not going to make excuses for what happened after. It was still inexcusable what I did and I shouldn't have let it happen."
Q. What about legal action? Have you or any of your representatives been contacted by the fan?
"That's something that we're going to deal with privately as we go."
Q. Are you happy that it stopped where it stopped? It could have been worse.
"Absolutely. As soon as it happened I knew obviously that it was a big ‘no-no' to do. I stopped there. It was obviously something out of character for me. I haven't done anything like that before."
Q. Has it been hard emotionally for you over the last couple of days?
"It's obviously not something that you want to get noticed for. You want to get noticed for how you play the game. I'm more of a guy who just likes to play the game and let the talking do itself on the ice. Obviously the decision I made at that moment is something I'd like to take back. Again: The support I'm getting from the organization and my teammates, it's been really helpful for me."
Q. What kind of support are you getting?
"They're in my corner. They understand. It's part of the game and at that moment I get a little bit emotional. But at the same time, I'm not going to make excuses. I take full responsibility and the decision the league made is something that I gotta live with at the end of the day, and never let it happen again."
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From the Vancouver Sun, some context to Rypien's remarks:
Although there has been speculation that Rypien was especially upset by an alleged eye-gouge from Brad Staubitz(notes) and rough treatment from linesman Don Henderson, he refused to blame anyone but himself for the incident.
"I'm sure he told you he made a mistake," Canucks coach Alain 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."
Bottom line: Does anyone else get super annoyed when reporters use nicknames in questions?
"Were there extenuating circumstances on the ice, Ryp ..." What are we, boarding school chums? Call it "Burkie Syndrome," in which members of the media symbolically reference a personal relationship or attempt to connect with someone like Leafs GM Brian Burke by tossing his nickname into formal conversations.