While he may not be a lawyer, Bryan Reynolds at our Wild blog, Hockey Wilderness, can read. He opened up the books today and brushed up on Minnesota law to see where things stand in regard to this incident between Rick Rypien and a fan.
A conviction brings the threat of 90 days in jail and / or $1000 fine.
Again, I am not a lawyer, and I am not about to interpret the law. However, it seems that Rypien certainly had intent to cause fear, no? I certainly hope is does not go as far as criminal charges, but the law says it could.
As for the civil side, it becomes battery, and then the law gets mush less cut and dry. It becomes a matter for a judge or jury to determine if the case has merit. In a world in which you can sue McDonald's for having hot coffee, and Ryobi for making table saws that cut fingers off, I could certainly see a less scrupulous lawyer taking the case.
For more, visit Hockey Wilderness.