by Justin Orlewicz (Sports Editor)
The slow-start Canucks have finally gotten their offense going, but that’s not the reason that the entire sports world is talking about the Canucks. The Canucks have taken it upon themselves to give their fans and the rest of North America’s sports press something to talk about; a fight with a fan, a few wins and let’s sprinkle in some goaltender controversy.
Last week, in St. Paul, Minnesota at the Xcel Energy Center, a frustrated Rick Rypien decided to engage with a fan after being ejected from the game for sucker punching Minnesota Wild Tough guy Brad Staubitz and tangling with a linesman. Rypien didn’t throw a punch at the fan, but he definitely grabbed him and thought about it. The Canucks were getting beat up badly at this point by the Wild, and I guess Rypien was a little flustered after losing a fight with Staubitz earlier in the contest (something that doesn’t happen often). After being hauled off the ice, he grabbed the fan sitting next to the tunnel, but it was quickly broken up before he could really hurt his already shortened career. Rypien was suspended for six games for the incident, and the club was fined $25,000. This could have been much worse for the Canucks enforcer, but lucky for him he had a clean record (despite being a fighter), and the league decided not to make an example out of him. I can assure you two things; the Wild will put plexy glass in that area, and the next player to engage with a fan in any physical way will be severely punished.
Now for the goaltending controversy in Vancouver; Backup goalie Cory Schneider (one of the Canucks top prospects) is showing up as a golden goalie. People in Vancouver are already calling for Luongo’s head on a plater and think that starting Schneider on the regular is the answer, stupid Vancouver fans. Luongo has gotten off to a dismal start, but he is still one of the top 3 goalies in the league, the Canucks would have to be stupid to deal Luongo and go with Schneider. The ‘Nucks are also known for being a goalie graveyard, watch out or Luongo may decided to walk away from his lifetime contract. Trust me, it’s better to have two goalies that can win, just ask the Chicago Blackhawks of last year. The plan this year is to get Schneider into twenty some odd games to lighten the load on Luongo, so that he isn’t burnt out by the time the playoffs come around. Also if Schneider does well in those 20 games, he can be used as trade bait in the off season or at the deadline. Controversy solved.
Let’s end on a happy note; Steven Stamkos is lighting it up again this year, he now leads the league in goals after his hat trick on the weekend (Barry Melrose you’re an idiot for saying this kid was a bust). Also, John Tavarres recorded his first career hat trick on the weekend, way to go young guns!