These days, Zac Rinaldo’s bank account is taking a hit, and it has nothing to do with an expensive Valentine’s Day gift. The Flyers winger is making involuntary donations to the NHL Players’ Association emergency fund.
The 5-foot-11 winger “launched himself” at 6-foot-4 defenseman Jonathan Ericsson in Sunday’s game, according to NHL league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan. As a result, Rinaldo has been suspended two games without pay. That will cost him $5,885.88. Eight days prior, Rinaldo was fined $5,000 for two separate incidents in a game against New Jersey.
“Rinaldo is listed as five inches shorter than Ericsson, who is sending virtually upright just prior to the hit,” Shanahan said in his explanatory video. “However, at the moment of impact, Rinaldo has launched high enough that players’ shoulders are at even height. It is important to note that Rinaldo was fined twice just eight days before for a late hit and a slew foot in the same game.”
The repeat offender status is starting to haunt the Flyers’ energetic winger.
“[Ericsson] saw me the whole way. He knew I was coming. What he suspended me for was the jump,” Rinaldo said. “He said I jumped, which I don’t think I did. The video doesn’t show me jumping. I’ll roll with the punches. It makes me stronger. Just learning from it. Well, not really, learning from it. It will make me a better person at the end of the day. Roll with the punches.”
Three things …
1. Despite losing two in a row and winning only two of their last eight, the Flyers aren’t ready to call it a slump — it’s simply a rough patch.
“I like where we’re sitting,” Braydon Coburn said. “We’re sitting in the playoffs right now. I think our best hockey’s still ahead of us.”
2. Today is Jaromir Jagr’s 40th birthday. He has scored one goal in his last 16 games, but feels OK.
“As long as the team or our line has it and everyone has different position on the line, I like my chances in the corners and I like G’s [Giroux] chances around the net or Hartsy’s [Hartnell] chances in front of the net instead of the other way around.”
3. Ilya Bryzgalov said that he’s healthy enough to play if needed, but he’s still sick. Wingers Jakub Voracek and James van Riemsdyk both practiced yesterday in grey non-contact uniforms. They did not take part in hitting drills, but were otherwise participating.