Boston Bruins winger Zac Rinaldo has had his share of run-ins with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, and it wouldn’t be shocking if he’s getting another call from the league following a hit to the head of Tampa Bay Lightning winger Cedric Paquette.
Rinaldo found himself penalized Sunday for an illegal check to the head of Paquette midway through the contest’s first frame. Paquette was low in the Bruins’ zone attempting to swing through the corner when Rinaldo, who was approaching from Paquette’s right, came in and delivered a hit that knocked the Lightning winger down and caused him to leave the game for several minutes:
Paquette would return to the game with four minutes remaining in the opening period and was able to play the remainder of the contest, but no lasting injury doesn’t mean Rinaldo will be off the hook. Remember, an injury only factors into a potential suspension if the Department of Player Safety decides a hit is worthy of a suspension, but it seems that will be the case as Sportsnet's John Shannon reported a hearing for Rinaldo is likely to be announced.
That said, the camera angles given of the hit make it difficult to determine where exactly Rinaldo caught Paquette. It appears as though it may have been right on the chest right below the chin, but it’s impossible to tell, especially with Paquette leaning forward.
If the Department of Player Safety does deem Rinaldo’s hit worthy of a suspension, his history will come into play. Over the past five seasons, he has been suspended three times, including an eight-game ban in February 2015 for charging and boarding Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang.