There will always be a Flyer or two with well-deserved crosshairs on their game. Zac Rinaldo is currently one of them, and that's a big part of his role with the team. But, increasingly, it's also going to mean league discipline for borderline activities.
Rinaldo lined up and lit up Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson on Sunday night, drawing a charging minor. Ericsson seemed to get lost behind his own net, skating with momentum—but backwards—into a trajectory Rinaldo charted way back at the blue line. Below, dean of discipline Brendan Shanahan explains why Rinaldo was alright until he went airborne. And man do they get into the details on this one.
My opinion… that's a pretty solid explanation. But, more so for why Rinaldo definitely did deserve the charging call. Maybe a game… Two seems a bit much for a check that would have been into the Red Wings logo if Ericsson had kept skating. At this point we're splitting hairs, and I'm clearly biased, so...
Rinaldo grabbed two separate fines last weekend against the New Jersey Devils, and he's clearly on the path to expedited sentences for repeat offenders. Borderline hits and activities will earn him box time from on-ice officials that all know him by now, and the league office that probably started reviewing his history the day he pulled the jersey on.
The Flyers can probably use this opportunity to commend Rinaldo for something he's been doing pretty well this season—finding direct lines on the ice to meet an opposing skater's path with a big hit. But, despite his inclinations due to size limitations in some matchups, he needs to keep his hits down.
Shame he won't be around for the Penguins this weekend.