Zac Rinaldo earns five-game suspension for hit on Cedric Paquette
It took a little while, but Zac Rinaldo’s reputation got the worst of him, and deservingly so.
Two days after taking out Lightning forward Cedric Paquette with a hit to the head, the NHL Department of Player Safety handed Rinaldo a five-game suspension. With Rinaldo assigned to Providence yesterday, the ruling is now in the AHL’s hands as to whether or not they will uphold the NHL’s decision.
Rinaldo, who was given a minor penalty for his high hit on Paquette, will forfeit over $51,000 in salary, which goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund. It is the fourth time that he’s been suspended during his five-year NHL career.
“While we accept Rinaldo’s argument that he is attempting to deliver a legal, full-body check on this play, Rinaldo mistimes the hit leading to an angle of approach that makes Paquette’s head the main point of contact,” the league said in its video statement (which you can view below, “click on video” and then “Player Safety Decisions”). “If Rinaldo wishes to deliver his hit, he must do so in a legal manner by staying low and driving through his opponent’s core.”
This is Rinaldo’s first suspension since last year when he earned an eight-game ban for charging and boarding Penguins defenseman Kris Letang while he was a member of the Flyers. In all, Rinaldo, including the most recent ruling, has earned 19 games worth of suspensions.
In his first year in Black and Gold, Rinaldo has a grand total of three points (one goal, two assists), and accumulated 83 penalty minutes in 52 games. One has to think that Don Sweeney would like a mulligan after acquiring him for a third round pick last June.