Rick Rypien will appear before a larger-than-usual cast of league, team, player and union officials when he arrives in New York Friday morning for an in-person hearing.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly will participate in the hearing, which is highly unusual and indicates the severity of the incident, as well as the potential of a stiff suspension.
Rypien, his agent Alain Roy, Canucks general manager Mike Gillis and legal counsel from the NHLPA, will represent the defense.
With a minimum five games established as standard associated with in-person discipline hearings, speculation on the full extent of the suspension rangers from 5- 15 games.
The NHL detests player altercations with fans, so, if Bettman and Hockey Operations boss Colin Campbell allow for Rypien's late punch on Wild forward Brad Staubitz and his aggressive efforts to get away from the restraint of the officials prior to grabbing the fan to be entered into the equation for supplemental discipline, Rick Rypien could be facing a double-digit suspension.
There are no guarantees Rypien, or the Canucks, will learn his fate immediately following the hearing, however, the expectation is a decision will be made on Friday.