Zac Rinaldo suspended four games for high hit – what was he thinking?

In the third period of a 4-0 game Sunday night, Philadelphia’s Zac Rinaldo hit Buffalo’s Chad Ruhwedel with an obvious head check – and today Rinaldo was suspended four games for the infraction.

What in the world was Zac Rinaldo thinking?

With a little more than 15 minutes left in the third period of Sunday’s Philadelphia-Buffalo game, and with his Flyers holding a dominating 4-0 lead at the time, Rinaldo decided to launch his shoulder into Sabres defenseman Chad Ruhwedel’s head in open ice. Ruhwedel suffered a concussion on the play.

Rinaldo, who has been suspended once before and fined twice in his NHL career, was ejected with a match penalty on the play and suspended four games on Monday.

Here’s how the NHL came to the obvious conclusion.

Said Rinaldo after the game: “I shouldn’t have done it. There was no need for it, we were up 4-0, there was no need for that but it is what it is, it’s part of the game.”

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Well, it’s as much a part of the game as any other dumb penalty in a 4-0 game.

The four-game ruling means Rinaldo will miss the rest of the regular season and be eligible to return for Game 1 of Philadelphia’s first round playoff series. That’s assuming they don’t experience a monumental collapse without a player who has four points and 153 penalty minutes in 67 games this season.

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