Zac Rinaldo is beloved by Philadelphia Flyers fans for being a rough-and-tough winger that sets the pace with his physical play. While the forward is no stranger to supplemental discipline beyond his 85 PIMS this season and a whopping 232 last season, he is now being used by the NHL in their newest video demonstrating player safety. Former player and current Director of Player Safety, Brendan Shanahan utilizes instructional videos every few weeks to give players and fans a sense of what is punishable by suspension and what should be settled by the referees. Shanahan should know the difference, as he is the only player in NHL history to score 600 goals and have 2,000 penalty minutes.
In the newest video, Shanny takes on charging and displays three hits that are natural hits that need to remain in the game. These hits see the player not targeting the head, not leaving the ice, and often has the player being hit putting themselves in an awkward position. In the other videos, we see players launching themselves into the hit, targeting the head, and leaving players injured. During this portion, a snippet from the Flyers-Detroit Red Wings game on February 12th was shown, where Rinaldo charges defenseman Jonathan Ericsson. The hit is clearly illegal, as the much shorter Rinaldo is able to smash in Ericsson’s head after jumping into the air. Rinaldo was suspended two games and the Red Wings made the playoffs, so who ultimately won this battle?
The team obviously is willing to deal with Rinaldo being suspended from time to time, as they gave the bruiser a two-year extension right before the season’s end. When the season was going poorly, and that covers a lot of this season, his play was consistently what the Flyers needed to turn their luck around. Hopefully he can continue to set the tone with his grit without losing too many games to stupid hits like this, becoming an example to the entire league of what not to do.
Jesse Seilhan is a Philadelphia Flyers writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Anonymousbeard and add him to your network on Google.