I like Zac Rinaldo the same way that I liked Dan Carcillo when he played in Philadelphia, before he started badmouthing the Philadelphia Flyers organization. Rinaldo knows his role as a Flyers’ goon and he plays it well.
It’s a role the team needs, and head coach Peter Laviolette has even said that sometimes he puts in Rinaldo to shake things up. Rinaldo is good at being an intimidation factor on the ice, and he definitely brings the old school Broad Street Bullies hockey back to Philadelphia. Which is probably why fans cheer for him so much. We like a good fight in this city just as much as a good goal.
It shouldn’t really surprise anyone that he still has a spot on the Flyers roster. Each team needs an enforcer, and Rinaldo is the one for the job in Philadelphia. But is his role starting to change?
Rinaldo has the highest PIMS for the team this season (50 minutes) so he’s really good at penalties, but these are mostly from roughing calls and fights. This isn’t a shock to most fans. He’s not known for being a really impressive player on the ice, but I did notice a change in him while he did his time in the AHL with the Adirondack Phantoms during the lockout. This is mostly due to the Phantoms having too many enforcers, so Rinaldo was fighting less and actually scoring more. I was actually pretty interested to discover that during the season there was a line brawl, and Rinaldo wasn’t even involved in it. Which started making me believe that perhaps he is maturing and his game play is evolving.
This season with the Flyers he’s already matched his goals from last season, so I’m expecting to see him score more. Although that number is only two, he still made a big impact for the organization when he came up as a Flyers rookie last season. We’re seeing a difference in Rinaldo this season, like he’s ready to prove that he’s not only on the team to be the big bad enforcer. And I like it!
I love when guys who don’t score much score, so I loved watching Rinaldo’s goals so far this season. He also seems more focused, so I really want to see him do well this season. This is only his second season in the majors, so I’m really interested in how the rest of his season pans out. I think if he puts in the time and continues with this focus and drive on the ice, his role may change with the organization. Regardless, I believe Flyers fans are going to cheer him on but it really depends on if that’s during a fight or after scoring a goal.