Zac Rinaldo must be used to this phone call by now. The Arizona Coyotes forward has been suspended six games for his latest illegal incident, punching Colorado defenseman Samuel Girard. Rinaldo has now been suspended five times in his NHL career. The Department of Player Safety had offered Rinaldo an in-person hearing to defend himself, but he declined and instead had a phone hearing today with the league.
After delivering a hit on Nathan MacKinnon, Rinaldo grabs Girard and throws a punch without the Colorado defenseman even looking at him. As the accompanying video explains:
It is important to note that while we accept Rinaldo’s explanation that he believed that because Girard had approached him after the hit, meant that Girard was anticipating a fight, ultimately the video shows this is not the case. Whatever Girard’s intentions, he gives Rinaldo no clear indication that he is a willing combatant.
While he doesn’t qualify as a repeat offender in terms of the increased salary sacrificed during his suspension, the DoPS takes into account all of his former disciplinary matters. Rinaldo has also been fined by the league twice and received suspensions in the minor leagues.
The 27-year old will be kept out of the lineup until January 11th.