Zac Rinaldo Channeling Bob Kelly's Philadelphia Flyers' Spirit

By Sean O'Brien
Philadelphia Flyers Zac Rinaldo
Eric Hartline – USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Flyers‘ forward Zac Rinaldo was more enforcer, than player, last season. But, this year he looks a lot more like Bullies’ legend and fellow left winger Bob Kelly.

“The Hound” played for the Flyers during the entire decade of the 1970s. So, naturally the Ontario native will always be considered a hockey god on the streets of Philadelphia.

Kelly only topped the 20-goal mark once (22 goals in 1976-1977) during his days in orange and black. But, he busted the three-digit penalty minute line on seven occasions during those wild times.

Fred Shero, who remains one of the most innovative head coaches in National Hockey League history, used Kelly’s energy to consistently disrupt the other team’s in-game flow. Number 9 didn’t just embrace the role he was given by “The Fog”, he developed it over time.

Rinaldo appeared on the Flyers’ scene last season and quickly became a favorite of head coach Peter Laviolette. While he did evoke Kelly’s reckless abandon most of the time, the trim forward also exhibited a deep love for the game that foreshadowed his sophomore efforts this season.

This fellow Ontario native’s steadily evolving play hasn’t been overlooked among the team’s many disappointing losses. Number 36 makes the most of every stride during every shift and has become a more focused presence within each game.

Kelly currently serves as the Flyers’ Ambassador of Hockey. “The Hound” can be found shaking hands on the concourse level at the Wells Fargo Center, or conversing with Suite clients, when Rinaldo is playing on their home ice. Kelly is perfect for this latest “energy” job because he still loves the organization and the game.

Rinaldo has the potential to mimic Kelly’s career in more ways than one. It’s easy to imagine him playing through this Flyers’ decade, as he continues to develop his offensive skills and maintains a strong defense of his teammates.

No comparison between any two hockey men, who also played during different time periods, is meant to be exact. But, this resemblance seems to fit.

Follow Sean on Twitter @SeanyOB, Facebook, Google+ and read his blog Insight.

You May Also Like