In news that likely comes as unsurprising, Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo will have a hearing tonight with the NHL's Department of Player Safety for his hit on Sabres' defenseman Chad Ruhwedel in the third period of last night's 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres, as was confirmed this morning.
Flyers' Zac Rinaldo will have a hearing on Monday for an illegal check to the head on Sabres' Chad Ruhwedel. http://t.co/7SJQa3v9SN— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) April 7, 2014
CSN Philadelphia's Sarah Baicker reported last night that the hearing is apparently a phone hearing, which would suggest a maximum suspension length of five games.
It's believed to be a phone hearing for Zac Rinaldo tomorrow evening, by the way.— Sarah Baicker (@sbaickerCSN) April 7, 2014
Rinaldo was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the hit, which was ruled as "intent to injure" by the on-ice officials -- obviously not a penalty that gets handed out a ton. You can see the hit below.
Clear contact with the head, leaves his feet, elbow looks out (can't quite tell from this angle) ... not a hit that the NHL is going to like much. Ruhwedel suffered a concussion on the play and did not return, which would add to the length of the suspension would the NHL decide to suspend Rinaldo for the hit.
The hit capped off an eventful 8:15 of ice time for Rinaldo, who scored his second goal of the season, drew a penalty, and also committed three minor penalties before this hit.
It's worth noting that Rinaldo -- as much as he plays on the edge, and as much as he has a somewhat deserved reputation for being completely insane -- has only been fined twice (for two separate plays in the same game against New Jersey in February 2012) and suspended once (for two games following a charging penalty on Detroit's Jonathan Ericsson, also in February 2012) in his NHL career. As far as determining how much money he loses for a suspension, Rinaldo isn't even technically a "repeat offender" -- that threshold is 18 months or fewer, and Rinaldo's most recent run-in with the NHL's Department of Player Safety was more than two years ago.
However, his discipline history is fair game to be taken into account when trying to determine if and/or how long he should be suspended, so given that history, chances are Rinaldo's going to sit a few games.
If Baicker's report above that the hearing will be a phone hearing is true, Rinaldo can only be suspended for up to five games. The Flyers play four more regular season games in the 2013-14 season, meaning that there's a decent chance that this hit costs Rinaldo the remainder of the regular season.
More thoughts to come later.