New Bruin Rinaldo needs to back up his “changes”
For Bruins fans hoping to see Zac Rinaldo completely change his game from a guy who plays with an edge, then they’ll be disappointed to hear that he’s not going to shy away from that when he gets accustomed to his new team.
For Bruins fans hoping to see Zac Rinaldo play with an edge and change a few things in his game that will help him avoid disciplinary action, well, they might be surprised to hear some of the improvements from the former Flyers forward that he is working on.
“I’m bringing in energy. I’ll bring everything home and away. I’ll always be the rough, tough, Zac Rinaldo, but I’m also going to add in more hockey sense,” said Rinaldo, who was acquired by GM Don Sweeney on June 29th for a third round pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
“I’ll be shooting the puck and I’ll be blocking shots and I’m going to be creating more opportunities offensively, whether it would be for myself or for my teammates. You know, a little shot here and there can lead to a rebound to get a goal. Smart chips, smart forecheck, it’s all going to add in to help win a hockey game. So anything I can do to help offensively to add a little oomph to it will be something I bring.”
There’s a reason that some Bruins supporters will take those comments with a grain of salt.
During his five seasons as a member of the “Broad Street Bullies”, Rinaldo compiled 572 penalty minutes and totaled 14 games worth of suspensions, including an eight-game ban in January for boarding and charging Penguins defenseman Kris Letang. Offensively, he has a grand total of 24 points (8 goals, 16 assists) in 223 career NHL games.
With a new team, Rinaldo’s past antics may not get him very far, which is why he is hoping to make some changes for the better, while still keeping an edge of a player who opponents hate to play against.
“It’s going to change in a better way for the team. I don’t plan on getting suspended,” Rinaldo said during his availability with the Boston media at TD Garden on Tuesday. “The last thing I want to do is plan on taking stupid penalties; that’s the last thing I want to do is to hurt my team. Changing for the better will happen. More opportunity, a better role perhaps and I’m open to doing anything to help the team win.”
Rinaldo has two years remaining on his contract with an average cap hit on $850,000. He is trying to say the right things to sell himself to the Bruins and their fans.
At the same time, Rinaldo needs to put those words of trying to improve his skills and hockey sense into something worthy. Otherwise, he may be seeing more time in the Level 9 press box and his reputation will undoubtedly continue to be questioned.
“The last thing I want to come here and do is give a bad first impression,” Rinaldo said. “You only have one time to give a good first impression and I want to make my first impression a memorable one. So I’m willing to do anything to help the team win. Anything that they tell me to do, I’m going to be doing it.”
From penalty killing to continuing his role as a fourth liner, Rinaldo says he is willing to do anything to help his new team win. If he backs up his words, then maybe he’ll get more than eight minutes a night. If his reputation from Philly carries over to Boston then he would very easily be replaceable in favor of Alex Khokhlachev or Joonas Kemppainen.
Either way, Rinaldo needs these changes to not only benefit himself but to also help the Black and Gold in 2015-16.