The NHL has a memorable history when it comes to fans and fighters dropping the gloves. They are in-tune these incidents and punish them harshly.
This year, the league went so far as to clarify the penalties for these confrontation in its yearly rules adjustments , stating "Any identifiable player who uses obscene, profane or abusive language or gestures directed at any person runs the risk of an unsportsmanlike penalty and possible supplemental discipline."
Vancouver Canucks forward Rick Rypien became the first to test the laws Tuesday night when he lunged into the stands to grapple with a Minnesota Wild fan. If dropping a few F-bombs at fans alone would be enough for punishment, you can bet Rypien's attack will keep him off the ice for a long time.
As unacceptable as it was, Rypien's actions were tame compared to some of the NHL player-fan altercations of years past. Among the most memorable:
Calgary Flames goon Sasha Lakovic jumps into the stand after a fan dumps a drink on coach Guy Lapointe 's head:
Buffalo Sabres enforcer Rob Ray plays the role of judge, jury and executioner when a Quebec Nordiques fan jumps onto the ice:
A brawl between the Vancouver Canucks and Quebec Nordiques shifts to the stands:
And the creme de la creme of all brawls, Boston Bruins defenseman Mike Milbury climbs into the Madison Square Garden stands and beats a rowdy New York Rangers fan with his own shoe. (At 0:30, you can see Milbury at the top of the screen pulling the fan's shoe off.)
We're aware this is only a fraction of the great player-fan confrontations in NHL history. Feel free to add your links to videos of other incidents in the comment section below .