John Scott talks Rick Rypien, NHL player safety, and the Canucks’ season so far: Canucks Conversation

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Clarke Corsan
5 months ago
On Monday’s episode of Canucks Conversation, David Quadrelli and Harman Dayal were joined by former NHL All-Star John Scott to discuss player safety and the Canucks’ season up to this point.
Harman briefly touched on his thoughts on the Lotto line’s performance in Vancouver’s 6-4 win against the Devils: “It was unbelievable to watch. Obviously, you have to take it with a grain of salt because the Devils were playing on the second leg of a back-to-back, third game in four nights. But man, that line scored five goals if you count the disallowed Boeser goal early; they were buzzing the whole night, and it was total domination. It was so much fun to see Pettersson with high-end linemates again, to actually have him with players who can make plays. I don’t know if the Canucks are deep enough to stick with it long term, but in the short term, you’ve gotta keep rolling with it.”
The guys are then joined by John Scott, with Quads kicking off the conversation: “The topic of player safety is being heavily discussed right now. What’s your take?”
“It’s a moving target for a lot of players,” John replied. “The players don’t know where the league stands, especially the player safety side and George Parros—where on any given night you could have the same hit in three different games and there could be three different results. Players are frustrated because there’s no consistency to anything nowadays. A hit from behind could be anything; the players just want to know, ‘If I do this, I get x amount of games or penalties.’ As a result, there are guys who are taking advantage of the situation of the complete unknown that the NHL has facilitated by not hammering people when they should.”
“In that context, how does the league address these dangerous plays?” Quads asked.
John: “If you really want to get rid of these dangerous plays—hit to the head, hit from behind, etc.—you have to say, ‘If you hit anyone on the numbers, regardless of how fast you’re going or if he gets injured, you’re getting a three-game suspension. If you high stick someone in the face, you’re getting a game.’ There has to be that kind of push for it, and there hasn’t been. There has to be a set standard, and you have to make sure the refs do it across the board.”
Harm: “Kevin Bieksa had a pretty epic rant on Nick Cousins and some of the hits he’s made. What are your thoughts on his take?”
“I thought he was spot on,” replied John. “I had the same reaction to Cousins when he hit Gubranson. Players like Nick Cousins, who’s a good hockey player but has that edge to his game, and if he knows he’s not getting suspended or penalized, he’s going to continue to do it, and it incentivizes his team. Why wouldn’t he? It makes no sense for him not to. You go out, play physical, and cross that line every once in a while and not get penalized, it’s a win-win for him. Then you get jumped, turtle and get a power play out of it? That’s fantastic.”
Quads then brought up Rick Rypien, a legend in Vancouver for his tenacity and time spent with the Canucks. Rypien tragically passed away in 2011, but his memory is cemented in the heart of this city and the team. 
John reflected on what he remembers from playing against Rick: “I played against Ripper many times. He was one of those guys who was a natural talent at fighting; I think he was a gold glove boxer and had every gift for fighting on the ice – the mentality for it, the skill to do it. The only downside, if you want to call it that, was his size. He was just too small to mess with some of the big guys, but he was a killer. I remember playing against him quite a bit when I was in Minnesota, and I was always nervous if he would ask me to fight. He never did, but he was one of those guys who, if he caught you with one, you knew it would sting. One of the best lightweights, always fighting up in his weight class, and he could chuck ‘em.”
Harm: “Shifting gears to the Canucks, what’s the biggest surprise for you in terms of why they’ve been able to find success?”
John: “There’s a couple of things. Obviously, Thatcher Demko finding his game has helped them out hugely. Elias Pettersson—I hated him his first few years. I know he was putting up points, but I didn’t think he had that leadership quality, and I didn’t like how he went about his first contract situation. He’s completely changed my perspective on him; I think he’s got everything and more. He’s the guy I want on my team leading my team; he’s done well galvanizing that group, and Quinn Hughes has accepted the challenge of being a 1A defenseman. When your top three players are having outstanding years and you add all these other pieces, everything has worked out great for the Canucks this year.”
You can watch the full segment in the video below:

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