What do we do with you, Zac Rinaldo?
The rookie center was “Shanabanned” earlier this evening, suspended for two games without pay on Monday by the National Hockey League.
Rinaldo was slapped on the wrist because of that hard check which blew up Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson late in the first period of a 3-2 Detroit victory on Sunday night at Joe Louis Arena. He was given a minor for charging on the play and that realistically should have been all.
“Ericsson is eligible to be hit in this situation, and Rinaldo is in position to deliver a legal, punishing hit. Instead, Rinaldo launches himself high and into Ericsson, his skates considerably leaving the ice. This is charging,” said NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan in his video explanation of the incident.
“Though Ericsson should have been more aware in order to face an oncoming check after reversing the puck, that still doesn’t allow Rinaldo to launch himself and deliver such a high hit. By doing so, he turned what might have been a hard, legal body check into an illegal charge.”
While I applaud Shanny’s ability to break down video and provide background info which states a case for his rulings, I think this one might be a teensy bit in the nitpicky area, particularly to the level of “in the air” Rinaldo’s skates were off the ice when contact was made.
Nonetheless, Rinaldo will forfeit $5,885.88 in salary, which automatically goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund, and he will not be eligible to return until February 21 when the Flyers play in Winnipeg. Upcoming home games against Buffalo and Saturday’s crucial tilt against Pittsburgh aren’t the kind of games we’d need his intensity, but it will sting from a personnel perspective.
It is the second time in a week the NHL has taken action against the 21-year- old suburban Toronto native.
He was fined a total of $5,000 for two separate incidents in last Saturday’s 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.
Rinaldo received a minor for interference for the incident involving Josefson, but was not assessed a penalty on the action against Parise.
One can’t help but wonder if someone presiding over these issues was biding their time, waiting for the alarm to go off once again before bringing the hammer down.