Philadelphia Flyers’ Zac Rinaldo Knows his Role

Zac Rinaldo fights Matt Hendricks

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The problem with the Philadelphia Flyers AHL affiliate is that everyone wants to be an enforcer, so it’s clear why second year Flyer, Zac Rinaldo was less of a presence in the Phantoms’ penalty box, but now that NHL hockey is back that has already changed.

Rinaldo can do some pretty good things on the ice, and it’s always nice to see him on an assist or even score the rare goal, but that’s not his role with the Flyers. When Dan Carcillo was traded, someone needed to replace him as the Flyers’ bad guy, and that person came in the form of Rinaldo.

Rinaldo is the enforcer for the Flyers, and he appears to love his role. It suits him and it works for the Flyers when they need it. Like last night when they visited the Washington Capitals.

After Caps’ John Erskine elbowed Wayne Simmonds, drawing blood and forcing Simmonds to sit out the game, the Flyers were riled up.  Especially since Erskine didn’t get a penalty for the hit, but he will face a hearing with director of player safety, Brendan Shanahan on Saturday.

Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette put Rinaldo on the line for the faceoff after Simmonds took the hit, knowing he would shake things up. Which he did by fighting with Caps’ Matt Hendricks who was expecting it and maybe even instigated the scuffle. Hendricks didn’t stand a chance going up against Rinaldo who took him down. Although the fight was entertaining, unfortunately it caused both players to be ejected from the game.

Why? Due to a false start. The puck was never dropped or put into play, so the two were immediately ejected. Both players were tricked into thinking the puck dropped.

Rinaldo fits into his role as the enforcer, and he loves to stick up for his teammates, which is why fans love him.  It would be nice to see him contribute more on the ice in terms of goals, since that is where the Flyers are really struggling right now, but the fact of the matter is that everyone loves a goon, and Rinaldo is it for the Flyers.

Deanna Vasso is a Flyers contributor for rantsports.com. You can follow her on Twitter @Dmvasso.

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