by PuckStopsHere on 05/08/09 at 02:45 AM ET
In general, the Stanley Cup playoffs have fewer penalties and less use for goons who offer little in hockey ability beyond a willingness to fight, but sometimes exceptions exist. The main exception to this rule in this season’s playoffs has been Rick Rypien of the Vancouver Canucks. Rypien leads the playoffs with 38 penalty minutes in his eight games so far. That gives him almost five penalty minutes per game. He has contributed one assist (which he got in tonight’s game) and has a -1 +/- rating. His +/- is not quite worst on the team, there are a few players at -2, but they are all players who get significantly more ice time than Rypien does. The Canucks have only played Rick Rypien about seven and a half minutes a game.
In a tight series with Chicago (it is tied at two games each) is it sensible for the Canucks to be dressing a player like this? They could be playing Jannik Hansen in place of Rypien. During the regular season, Hansen certainly appeared more valuable. He outscored Rypien 21 points to 3. Hansen played 14:42 a game in 55 games, while Rypien played 9:19 a game in only 12 games. Why is Hansen deemed less valuable now, when the goonery Rypien provides is less valuable now?
Probably a roster shuffle at the bottom of any team’s roster is unlikely to be the difference between playoff success and failure, but I do not see the logic behind this Vancouver Canuck move. They seem to be sitting a clearly superior player in favor of somebody who has a skill set that does not translate as well to the playoffs. The payoff for the Canucks is more penalties from Rick Rypien. Why is that a good move?
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