On Wednesday night, the Flyers played the Boston Bruins and former Flyer Zac Rinaldo. “We all know what Reno can do and what he can bring to a game,” That’s what Ryan White said about playing against one of the NHL’s last remaining true goons. Rinaldo clearly displayed what White was talking about at the end of the first period when he hit Sean Couturier taking the Flyers second line center out of the game and earning a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
Here’s the hit:
The return of Zac Rinaldo pic.twitter.com/xv3kvp0ttB
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) October 22, 2015
After the hit, Couturier was down for an extended period of time but did manage to skate off the ice on his own power. Coots wouldn’t return to the game and it wasn’t announced that he had suffered an “upper body injury” until later in the third period.
Today the NHL Department of Player Safety announced that Zac Rinaldo would not be receiving a suspension for the hit. Patrick Burke of the DoPS states that Rinaldo’s hit didn’t meet any of the criteria that they use to determine a player suspension. They say that Rinaldo kept his elbow tucked, the hit wasn’t interference, it wasn’t an illegal check to the head, and it’s not charging.
But wait, at the beginning of the DoPS explanation video, Burke states that “We support the call made by the official on the ice…” the call on the ice was charging and a game misconduct, so shouldn’t there be a suspension? Kurt R. from Broad Street Hockey offered somewhat of an explanation on twitter.
Only interpretation of the Rinaldo video that makes sense is if “charging” and “charging for the purpose of supplemental discipline”…
— Kurt (@Kurt_BSH) October 22, 2015
Basically, this means that the Department of Player Safety is only suspending players if it looks like their dirty hits were INTENTIONAL. They say that they agree with the call on the ice which means they feel that the game misconduct that Rinaldo got was enough of a slap on the wrist to make him think a bit more before throwing those kinds of hits. That’s a pretty stupid stance to take with players like Rinaldo. Raffi Torres was given his fair share of chances and when he just kept playing dirty, the league decided to suspend him for 41 games; half the season.
— Jake Skellingstrom (@jakesundstrom) October 22, 2015
Yes Rinaldo has a history of really bad hits. He has been suspended three times in his career, but none of that factors into whether the DoPS sees the hit as suspendable. A player’s suspension history only comes into play when determining how long a suspension should be.
Here’s the video from the DoPS explaining their decision: