Boston Bruins left wing Zac Rinaldo has been suspended for five games for an illegal check to the head on Tampa Bay Lightning center Cedric Paquette.
As we mentioned to you yesterday, Boston Bruins forward Zac Rinaldo was scheduled to go before the National Hockey League Department of Player Safety to answer for a questionable hit on Tampa Bay Lightning center Cedric Paquette on Sunday night at the TD Garden in Boston. The powers that be have spoken, and it seems as if the big, bad Bruins will have to spend the next couple of games minus a player.
According to NHL.com, the National Hockey League Department of Player Safety has determined that Rinaldo should be suspended for a total of five games for what was deemed an illegal check to the head of Tampa Bay Lightning center Cedric Paquette. While Rinaldo asserts he was simply trying to execute a legal check, Rinaldo is a repeat offender for illegal shots to the head. This clearly weighed heavily on Player Safety’s decision.
Just in case you happened to miss the game on Sunday night, allow us to set the scene for you a little bit. IIt was just past the halfway point in the first period on Sunday night as the Tampa Bay Lightning were taking on the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden in Boston. The puck was being played in the Lightning’s offensive zone, when play made its way to the boards behind the net. This is where Cedric Paquette comes in.
Cedric Paquette attempts to play the puck along the boards to the left of Boston Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask. It was at this point he was railed in the head by Zac Rinaldo. Needless to say, Paquette fell to the ice like a sack of potatoes. Paquette would immediately raise his gloves to his head on instinct. It took a moment, but Paquette was finally able to make his way to his feet and off the ice under his own volition.
Unfortunately, he did not make his way back to the Lightning bench. Rather, he immediately made his way down the tunnel to the Tampa Bay Lightning locker room. Paquette would not return for the remainder of the first period. Thankfully, when the Tampa Bay Lightning would return to the ice for the second period of play, Paquette would rejoin his team on the bench.
According to NHL.com, given Rinaldo’s repeat offender status and based off of his average annual salary, Rinaldo will be forced to pay $51,829.25 to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund. Here is where things get a little interesting. On Monday night, following the Bruins’ 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, CBS Sports is reporting the Bruins organization had assigned Rinaldo to their AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins.
This means that Rinaldo’s suspension will be put on hold while he is in the American Hockey League as only games missed while on an NHL roster count towards the term of the player’s suspension. In other words, it may be quite a while before we see him on NHL ice again. Of course, this could be a good thing for the Tampa Bay Lightning; especially consider Cedric Paquette was not the first Lightning player Rinaldo has injured.
What do you think of Zac Rinaldo’s five-game suspension by the Department of Player Safety? Do you think the games equal the offense, or do you think he should have been handed a sentence similar to the one he was for taking a shot at Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang? Let us know what you think in the comments below.