It was announced earlier today that the NHL’s Department of Player Safety has suspended Arizona Coyotes forward Zac Rinaldo for six games for an incident involving Colorado Avalanche’s defenseman Samuel Girard during last Saturday’s game. Today’s suspension marks Rinaldo’s fifth in his 6 seasons and 306 games as an NHL player.
The incident in question involved Rinaldo delivering a clean hit on Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon in the neutral zone, which appeared to injure MacKinnon. This clearly leads to Rinaldo anticipating a reprisal from an Avalanche player and he gets up anticipating a fight. Girard then skates towards Rinaldo and extends his stick into Rinaldo, leading to Rinaldo dropping his gloves and punching Girard in the face. This resulted a match penalty for Zac Rinaldo for punching an unsuspecting opponent.
Rinaldo had previously declined an in-person hearing, signalling that the Department of Player Safety was looking to suspend Rinaldo for at least five games. Below is the video explanation of the decision.
Likely in response to the suspension, the Coyotes recalled forward Lawson Crouse, who has enjoyed a pretty successful year in the AHL alongside Dylan Strome and Nick Merkley.
What do you think of the suspension? Too severe, too light? Discuss below.