Flyers lineup continues changing

Zac Rinaldo has cemented himself as a basic bitch in the eyes of most fans. Despite years and years of expressing a desire to become a more skilled player and less of a grinder goon, Rinaldo just doesn’t seem to have what it takes to turn his reputation around, nor does he seem to actually want to. He is, at best, a 4th line bruiser who can’t seem to manage to develop that little bit of skill he has more than being an ineffective agitator.

After an obviously bad hit on Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, Rinaldo seemed to show no remorse. After the game, which he was immediately ejected from, Rinaldo seemed to be proud of the hit and even took credit for the Flyers eventual win saying “Yeah, I changed the whole game, man. [Expletive], who knows what the game would have been like if I didn’t do what I did?”.

He tweeted out a while after that he didn’t mean that to be a joke, but eh that you can take with a grain of salt; which apparently Rinaldo thinks you can do with suspensions?  “I’m just gonna take it with a grain of salt.” That’s not how suspensions work Zac, you can’t be iffy about them, can’t decide whether you want to believe them or not. Rinaldo’s punishment was dealt on Monday and after turning down an in-person hearing, Rinaldo was given an 8 game suspension.

In preparation for Rinaldo’s imminent suspension, the Flyers called up Ryan White from Lehigh Valley. White was supposed to be in the Flyers lineup in a 4th line role, but suffered an injury before the season started costing him his spot on the roster. In 11 games with the LV Phantoms, White has one goal and two assists. White is plugging Rinaldo’s spot on the 2nd line mostly because Berube isn’t going to break up the current 4th line of  VandeVelde-Bellmare-Lecavalier.

On Monday morning the also Flyers recalled Petr Straka after learning that Michael Raffl was sick. We still don’t know what Raffl’s illness is, but it kept him out of Monday’s game which gave Straka a chance on the 2nd line with White and Simmonds. Straka has 11 goals and 17 points in 39 games for the Phantoms this season. “He’s got real good wheels. So that’s good that he’ll add speed to our lineup tonight and he’s got the ability to score goals.” Berube said about the 22 year old. Straka obviously got the nod ahead of Jason Akeson who Craig Berube had turned on in his short time with the Flyers.

And finally, Monday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes saw the return of Steve Mason. After missing 6 games with a knee injury, Mason was set to sit on the bench and be Ray Emery’s backup for a night. Unfortunately, Emery didn’t start the night as he may have hoped, allowing 2 goals on 4 shots, and Steve Mason replaced him only minutes into the 1st period. Putting Mason in net was a big gamble for the Flyers; most fans worried that he could re-injure himself and be out for an even longer stretch of time in a game that may matter for the Flyers standings, but really doesn’t because we all know that they’re not doing anything spectacular this late in the season.

Fortunately Mason held up and nothing bad happened. Now that Mason is all better and ready to resume his starting job, the Flyers sent Rob Zepp back down to the Phantoms today.

According to that tweet from Tim Panaccio, Defenseman Nick Grossmann might be back for tomorrow’s game against Winnipeg which is a problem. The Flyers defense has undoubtedly looked a bit better as of late thanks to the numerous injuries that pretty much force Berube to play all of his best defensemen. Nick Schultz was absent from practice this morning leading people to think that he would be injured and Grossmann would have a spot to fill, but now we’ve learned that Schultz is just having a maintenance day.

This means that Grossmann will probably be forcing one of the better defensemen out of the lineup on Thursday.

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