What in the world was Zac Rinaldo thinking?
With a little more than 15 minutes left in the third period of Sunday’s Philadelphia-Buffalo game, and with his Flyers holding a dominating 4-0 lead at the time, Rinaldo decided to launch his shoulder into Sabres defenseman Chad Ruhwedel’s head in open ice. Ruhwedel suffered a concussion on the play.
Rinaldo, who has been suspended once before and fined twice in his NHL career, was ejected with a match penalty on the play and suspended four games on Monday.
Here’s how the NHL came to the obvious conclusion.
Said Rinaldo after the game: “I shouldn’t have done it. There was no need for it, we were up 4-0, there was no need for that but it is what it is, it’s part of the game.”
Well, it’s as much a part of the game as any other dumb penalty in a 4-0 game.
The four-game ruling means Rinaldo will miss the rest of the regular season and be eligible to return for Game 1 of Philadelphia’s first round playoff series. That’s assuming they don’t experience a monumental collapse without a player who has four points and 153 penalty minutes in 67 games this season.