A day after scoring just his second goal of the 2013-2014 season, it looks as if Flyers winger Zac Rinaldo will miss the remainder of the campaign for a dangerous check administered in the third period of Sunday night’s win over the Sabres.
Team source says four game suspension for Rinaldo #FlyersTalk
— Sarah Baicker (@sbaickerCSN) April 7, 2014
CSNPhilly.com Flyers reporter Sarah Baicker was first on the story. Rinaldo’s absence will most likely mean the return of Steve Downie, who had missed a substantial chunk of time with an upper-body injury. It is yet to be determined what the line combinations for Tuesday night’s contest with the Florida Panthers will be, as coach Craig Berube declined comment following the ruling.
For those who did not watch the game, Rinaldo’s hit came in the early stages of the third period of a contest the Flyers were already very much in control of. Sabres defenseman Chad Ruhwedel had let go of the puck from hit right-point position, only to have Rinaldo launch himself and make contact with his head. The play resulted in a match penalty, a game misconduct, and the aforementioned action by the league.
According to the Flyers website, Rinaldo will forfeit just over $15,000 worth of salary and be unable to suit up with the team for the remainder of the regular season. Following the 5-2 Flyers win, the forward spoke of his misstep and the potential ramifications that came along with it.
“I just had a lot of speed going at him . . . my shoulder down, As I hit him, he shot the puck. My shoulder hit his head, clearly…The proof’s in the pudding right there, I shouldn’t have done it. There was no need for it. We were up 4-0 and there was no need for that hit, but it is what it is. It’s part of the game.”
Many have made the observation that, for the most part, Rinaldo had cut down on some of the penalties that had earned him a less-than-favorable reputation around the league. In fact, his ability to draw penalties on the opposition had made him far more valuable than many would have imagined earlier in his career. Despite his progress, Rinaldo clearly still has some issues with finding the type of happy medium that will allow him to play with the edge he does without risking the fortunes of the team with careless penalties. Should the Flyers reach the postseason, it will be very interesting to see what coach Berube opts to do with the mercurial forward. Regardless of that decision, Rinaldo has played his last game for the Orange-and-Black in the 2013-2014 season.
For those interested, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety always releases a detailed video explanation for any penalty handed down as the result of an on-ice incident. Here is the one for Rinaldo: