Zac Rinaldo To Face Player Safety Hearing For Hit To Cedric Paquette

Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports /

Boston Bruins F Zac Rinaldo scheduled to meet the NHL Department of Player Safety tomorrow for his illegal hit on Tampa Bay Lightning F Cedric Paquette.

The Tampa Bay Lightning played an excellent game at the TD Garden on Sunday night as the Lightning’s power play unit shined in a 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins. Unfortunately, last night’s win was a little bittersweet for a couple of Tampa Bay Lightning players. One of those players is Tampa Bay Lightning center Cedric Paquette.

The Lightning was already up 1-0 over the Bruins at the halfway point in the first period. The Lightning were in possession of the puck in the offensive zone. Lightning center Cedric Paquette played the puck along the boards behind the Bruins net. All of a sudden, it almost seemed as if Paquette had been hit on by a moving train. Unfortunately, that train just happened to be wearing a Boston Bruins jersey.

Boston Bruins center Zac Rinaldo made a run at Cedric Paquette, but rather than executing a normal hit on Paquette, Rinaldo went high and the principle point of contact for the hit was Paquette’s head. As you can imagine, Paquette went tumbling to the ground. It was plain to see from the moment Paquette hit the ground that he was in a considerable amount of distress.

Eventually, Paquette was able to make it to his feet and leave the ice under his own volition. The bad news here is Paquette did not make a stop at the Tampa Bay Lightning bench. Rather, Paquette made his way down the tunnel and towards the Tampa Bay Lightning locker room. Unfortunately for the Lightning, Paquette would not return in the first period.

On the bright side, when the Tampa Bay Lightning took the ice for the second period of play, there was a familiar face sitting on the bench. Apparently, Cedric Paquette had passed the concussion protocol and had made his way back into the Lightning lineup for the second period.

As we mentioned yesterday, it would come as a great shock if the hit was not reviewed by the NHL Department of Player Safety; especially given Rinaldo’s past record. Well… it seems as if Player Safety has reviewed the play and has decided Zac Rinaldo needed to come in for a hearing. According to the NHL Department of Player Safety’s official Twitter page, Zac Rinaldo will face a hearing tomorrow for his illegal check to the head of Cedric Paquette.

This is not the first time Rinaldo has been in front of the Player Safety board for something of this stature. In fact, back on January 25, 2015, Zac Rinaldo was suspended for eight games for an illegal check to the head of Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang. Much like Paquette, Letang had to go through the same concussion protocol before he was allowed to return to the ice with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

While Cedric Paquette may not have received any sort of severe injury on the play, it is players like Zac Rinaldo that give the National Hockey League a bad name. We here at Bolts By The Bay are all about a big hit, or even an all-out, glove-dropping fight, but when you purposefully make a hit that puts your opponent in any kind of real danger, you don’t need to be on the ice.

It will be interesting to see what kind of supplemental discipline, if any, will be handed down to Zac Rinaldo in regards to his hit to the head of Cedric Paquette. We have a pretty distinct feeling his past record will come into play here, so we hope he has his seat in the press box reserved. He’s more than likely going to be there for a while.

Next: Lightning Spark Beantown Beatdown Against Bruins

What did you think about Zac Rinaldo’s illegal check to the head of Cedric Paquette? Do you think Rinaldo’s long history will come into play tomorrow? How many games, if any, do you think Rinaldo will receive for his actions? Let us know what you think in the comments below.