As a fan, it's easy to get lost in the belief that you're untouchable. Heckling, taunts and boos become a part of the game, but what happens when the athletes strike back? They're taught to restrain themselves from any altercation with the fans, but sometimes enough is enough.
One has to remember that these athletes are competitive and driven human beings, and when their team is losing and their performance questioned, it's easy to lose perspective of where they are.
Rypien's incident is the perfect example of a classic player-fan altercation. An opposing fan taunts a player coming off a heated situation, and in one split second that fan became Rypien's next target.
There have been several instances over the years that involve athletes breaching the thin line between them and the spectator. One of those famous occurrences involves Boston's own black and gold bruisers.
Do you remember what article of clothing Bruins' enforcer Mike Milbury pulled off a New York Rangers fan to use against him in the infamous Madison Square Garden brawl?