The Philadelphia Flyers might be losing the services of Zac Rinaldo for the remainder of their regular season and the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
At 4:29 of the third period, Rinaldo was assessed a match penalty for hitting Ruhwedel near the blue line in the Philadelphia defensive zone. Ruhwedel left the game and did not return.
This was not the first questionable penalty that Rinaldo was involved in all night. At 8:17 of the first period, Zac Rinaldo was whistled for goaltender interference, as he bowled over Buffalo Sabres goaltender Nathan Lieuwen. Sure Rinaldo was being rubbed out of the play by a Sabres defenseman, but he made no attempt to miss the Sabres goalie or let up on his hit.
In the second period, Rinaldo was whistled for a penalty as he left his feet to charge Jake McCabe behind the Sabres net – there was no intent to play the puck, Rinaldo was going for the hit.
The Department of Player Safety has limited the course of their conversation to the hit on Chad Ruhwedel. Ruhwedel left the game, and head coach Ted Nolan told the media after the game he in fact was diagnosed with a concussion.
The already injured players who are seeing ten players sidelined for various injuries add Chad Ruhwedel, Christian Ehrhoff and possibly Nathan Lieuwen to the list of walking wounded as the season nears a close.
Suspensions are nothing new to Zac Rinaldo. He has been suspended for charging (2 games in 2012) by the NHL. In the year he made his NHL debut with the Philadelphia Flyers (coincidentally against the Buffalo Sabres) he was called up in the first round of the playoffs despite having more suspensions (4) than goals (3) for the Adirondack Phantoms.
A suspension is all but guaranteed for Rinaldo. [Courier Post]. How long the suspension is up in the air, as Rinaldo is a repeat offender and the hit caused an injury.