Boston Bruins forward Zac Rinaldo is known for getting physical on the ice. He just needs to make sure he keeps those battles against other players on the ice and not against the officials.
Things were heated in Thursday’s game between the Bruins and New York Rangers. After hitting Ranger defenseman Tommy Hughes awkwardly into the boards, Rinaldo was jumped by Tanner Glass.
After the two were separated, Rinaldo was escorted to the bench by veteran linesman Pierre Racicot. Rinaldo appeared to object, pushing Racicot’s arm away.
Rinaldo explains, via the Boston Herald:
“He said ‘You’re kicked out’ and I wasn’t kicked out. I didn’t even get a penalty,” said Rinaldo. “He escorted me off the ice and I said ‘What are you doing?’ He said, ‘You’re kicked out.’ I said ‘I didn’t even get a penalty, why are you kicking me out?’ Then I talked to him and I said, ‘You made me look like an idiot taking me off the ice.’ He said, ‘No, no, I look like the idiot. I’m sorry.’
“It’s all good. There was miscommunication… It’s all good. It’s the heat of the moment. The refs make mistakes, we make mistakes.”
The NHL takes abuse of officials very seriously, with minimum punishments laid out in the rulebook. Any such determination would come from Hockey Ops rather than the Department of Player Safety, as it did after Dan Carcillo’s run-in with linesman Scott Driscoll in the playoffs. Rule 40, which covers Abuse of Officials, specifies:
40.1 Game Misconduct – Any player who deliberately applies physical force in any manner against an official, in any manner attempts to injure an official, physically demeans, or deliberately applies physical force to an official solely for the purpose of getting free of such an official during or immediately following an altercation shall receive a game misconduct penalty. In addition, the following (40.2, 40.3, 40.4) disciplinary penalties shall apply.
Section 40.4 covers the lesser of the available punishments.
40.4 Automatic Suspension – Category III – Any player who, by his actions, physically demeans an official or physically threatens an official by (but not limited to) throwing a stick or any other piece of equipment or object at or in the general direction of an official, shooting the puck at or in the general direction of an official, spitting at or in the general direction of an official, or who deliberately applies physical force to an official solely for the purpose of getting free of such an official during or immediately following an altercation shall be suspended for not less than three (3) games.
It appears that Rinaldo won’t face disciplinary action. He wasn’t given a game misconduct after the incident by the on-ice officials.
Given the situation – and, based on Rinaldo’s comments, Racicot’s apparent error – it would not be surprising to see the league let this go without further punishment. When it comes to Rinaldo, though, he should be a bit more careful in his dealings with officials in the future.