Written by: Larry “The Nucks IceMan” Johnson
The mystery surrounding Canucks Rick Rypien’s absence was made a little clearer yesterday when Rypien held a press conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Rypien made sure to say to all who were listening – “One thing I wanted to clarify and get out of the way so there’s no speculation whatsoever, is that this has had 100 per cent nothing to do with drugs, alcohol or substance abuse.”
As quoted from the Winnipeg Free Press - He (Rypien) said he’s been dealing with some intensely personal issues but feels it’s time to return to work.
Here are some of the highlights that Rick mentioned in his press conference.
- No substance abuse.
- Personal issues.
- Happiest that he’s been in a long time.
- His playing style will not change.
- Training for last two months.
- I know who I am better than I have before.
- Very grateful for the opportunity.
- I gotta lot of work to do.
I will not try to cover everything that was discussed but instead let you listen for yourself.
Manitoba Moose GM, Craig Heisinger, on Rypien – “Rick’s a real good person. He’s in tremendous physical condition. More focus on Rick Rypien the person.”
“Canucks are the ones that deserve all the credit in this matter; they have been very, very patient and understanding. Over the course of the last few years, the Canucks and GM Mike Gillis especially, have shown how important the people part of it is.”
When asked about Rypien’s absence Heisinger responded “that it’s a private matter and would remain private.”
Rypien has been a team and fan favourite since his arrival in 2005-06. His gritty play and willingness to stand up to much larger opponents for his team mates, was always appreciated. Unfortunately, Rypien went through a number of injuries that limited his play to only 103 games from 2007-08 to 2009-10.
This season, after only playing nine games, Rypien took a leave of absence and now we know that it had to do with some personal issues. No matter what line of work you are in, I’m sure most of us can relate to that. Life is not all about hockey and sometimes we forget that it’s just a part of what players do in their lives.
Will Rypien be back this season? That’s hard to say, but it has been reported also in the Winnipeg Free Press that the Canucks have worked with the NHL on a game plan for his return, including an open-ended conditioning stint with the Moose.
Since Rypien is on an NHL contract, he could be eligible to play for the Canucks before the end of the season. There is one little problem, or should I say large problem, the salary cap. How do the Canucks squeeze Rypien’s $550,000 salary into this equation since they are already at a cap payroll of $62.9 million?
I would think that someone would have to be sent down to Manitoba and hope that they clear waivers. There’s no use speculating on who that player might be at this time.
Anyway you look at this, Rypien would sure help the fourth line become a whole lot greasier, and the Canucks sure could use this heading into the playoffs. As Rypien said himself, he has been training for two months and is in the best physical shape of his life, and the only thing that is missing is his game legs.
I have been on record since Rypien first played for the Canucks, that I am a huge supporter of him and what he brings to the Canucks. I’m not just speaking about his fighting either. He plays the game at a high tempo, finishes his checks, is good defensively and when he’s on, can add some scoring to that pop-gun fourth line offense.
This sure would be a great feel good story if he could return to the NHL. I’m sure the fans would let him know that too, the day that he steps on the ice in either Manitoba or Vancouver.
It’s really great to see Rick return healthy, positive and raring to go.
You can read more about Rick Rypien at this previous article.
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Filed under: Vancouver Canucks