Damir Ryspayev has played 23 career games in the KHL. Over that time, Ryspayev has yet to find the score sheet for anything other than heading to the penalty box, and the ridiculousness of Ryspayev’s playing style marred a pre-season tilt between Barys Astana and Red Star Kunlun on Monday.
The 21-year-old Ryspayev, who has racked up nearly 200 penalty minutes over his short professional career in Astana, turned the pre-season game between Barys and Red Star into a joke just three minutes into the first frame. After a faceoff in the Barys zone, Ryspayev tried to goad Kunlun’s Tomas Marcinko into a fight, and when Marcinko wouldn’t drop his gloves, Ryspayev decided to suckerpunch him in the jaw.
As if he hadn’t caused an ugly enough scene, Ryspayev kept throwing fists. He went from socking Marcinko to attacking two more unwilling combatants from Red Star — one of whom Ryspayev targeted twice — before turning his attention to the Kunlun bench, skating over and attempting to fight players who weren’t even on the ice.
While Ryspayev was still in the midst of fighting anyone and everyone, Marcinko was stretchered off of the ice and reports indicate that he was taken to hospital immediately following the incident.
As a result of Ryspayev’s actions, Kunlun coach Vladimir Yurzinov, Jr., removed his team from the game. The decision led to Red Star forfeiting the contest 5-0, even though not even a quarter of the first period had been played in a 0-0 game.
The KHL has since announced that Ryspayev has been suspended for the remainder of the pre-season, and a hearing will be held to determine further punishment, if deemed necessary.
“Ryspayev's behavior has nothing to do with hockey and contradicts not only the rules, but also the spirit of our game,” the KHL said. “Such actions should not be the case not only in matches involving clubs in the KHL, but also in sports in general.”
The contest between Kunlun and Astana was the second pre-season game in a row between the two sides, and some bad blood could have been expected, though nothing to the extent of Ryspayev’s actions.
Kunlun won a Saturday exhibition, marking the first win ever for the franchise, but the two sides combined for 196 penalty minutes, including six players earning majors and game misconducts for fighting late in the third period. The incident which sparked the fighting Saturday was a third period hit on Barys’ Dustin Boyd, which resulted in Boyd breaking his leg.
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