AHL hands Rinaldo five-game suspension to match his current five-game NHL ban

Zac Rinaldo has been handed a five-game suspension by the AHL for a match penalty he received Friday. Rinaldo, 25, also has a five-game NHL ban, but has yet to serve a single game of that suspension.

In the past six days, Boston Bruins winger Zac Rinaldo has been suspended twice for different hits to the head, and each suspension carries a five-game ban.

The AHL announced Monday that Rinaldo, currently with the Providence Bruins, has been suspended five games for a hit to the head on Bridgeport Sound Tigers defenseman Kane LaFranchise that occurred in Saturday’s game. Rinaldo was initially suspended indefinitely pending review following the hit because he incurred a match penalty for an illegal check to the head.

Rinaldo’s suspension comes down from the AHL six days after he was handed a five-game ban in the NHL for a check to the head of Cedric Paquette. Rinaldo did not serve a single game of that suspension, however, as he was demoted to Providence on Feb. 29, the day before the NHL announced his ban for the hit on Paquette that occurred Feb. 28.

Over the weekend, Rinaldo missed two games — Saturday and Sunday contests against the Portland Pirates — and will get credited those games as part of his suspension. However, because of the AHL schedule, it will be almost two weeks before the remaining three games of Rinaldo’s suspension are served. The next three contests he will miss are games March 11, 12 and 13 before becoming eligible to return March 19 against the Toronto Marlies.

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Because of his matching suspensions, Rinaldo’s now ineligible to play in either the NHL or AHL until March 18. If the Bruins called Rinaldo up, his five-game ban would be over ahead of Boston’s March 18 game against the Anaheim Ducks.

For Rinaldo, this is the latest in a long line of suspensions. Since entering the NHL in 2012, he has been fined once and suspended another four times, missing a total of 19 games over that span. Including his AHL ban, he’ll now have missed more than 20 games in little more than four years due to suspensions.

The Bruins acquired the 25-year-old winger in the off-season for a third-round pick. Following the 2014-15 season, Rinaldo will have one year remaining on his two-year, $1.7-million deal. Because he’s on a one-way deal, Rinaldo earns $850,000 in the AHL.