Monday, April 07, 2014

Rinaldo given a 4-game vacation by the NHL

The  National  Hockey  League  issued a four-game suspension -- the balance of the regular season -- to Philadelphia Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo on Monday.

Rinaldo was given a match penalty for an illegal check with 4:29 played in the third period of an eventual 5-2 Flyers win over Buffalo on Sunday, after delivering an elbow to the head of Sabres defenseman Chad Ruhwedel.

Ruhwedel left the game and did not return, eventually diagnosed with a concussion.

Here's the video explanation, and surprise, it's not from our favorite monotoned discipline czar.

"While we view the four-game suspension to Zac [Rinaldo] harsh, we respect the league's decision," offered Flyers GM Paul Holmgren in the wake of the decision.

Rinaldo  will forfeit  $15,384.60 in  salary, which  automatically goes  to the Players'  Emergency Assistance  Fund. He will not be eligible to return until the club begins the Stanley Cup playoffs, missing out on Tuesday's game in Florida, Thursday at Tampa Bay, Saturday in Pittsburgh and the season-finale at home next Sunday against Carolina.

"It sucks. It's the last thing I wanted to happen," Rinaldo offered after a Tuesday morning practice session. "I was in a good groove, I felt really good out there, I was playing some of my best hockey. I'm going to learn from it, build off and stay positive. (I'm a) repeat offender, and the league knows that my intent to injure wasn't there. That was the first thing I wanted to make clear."

The feisty 23-year-old native of the Toronto area has felt the sting of punitive action twice before.

In early February of 2012, he was fined a total of $5,000 for two separate incidents in a game against New Jersey. The  first  came for a late  hit on Jacob Josefson and the second for an intentional slew-foot of Zach Parise.

Later in the month, he was suspended for two games after an  illegal check on Red Wings  defenseman Jonathan  Ericsson.

Rinaldo should do well to rest up. If the standings hold up as they have for the last several weeks, the Flyers are heading for a first-round matchup against the New York Rangers, and he'll be needed to counteract the circus which constantly surrounds ex-Philly agitator Dan Carcillo.

He's a flashpoint for advocates and naysayers alike. The Flyers have racked up a 37-23-7 record this season with Rinaldo, and just 3-6-2 without him, but many more dispute his shift-to-shift attributes as an increasing anachronism in a league shifting away from (bleep) stirrers. 
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