Arizona Coyotes forward Zac Rinaldo will have an in-person hearing for punching Colorado’s Samuel Girard.
With the game scoreless midway through the second period, Rinaldo caught Avs’ forward Nathan MacKinnon with a high up high near center ice. MacKinnon, who skated away slowly, appeared to be injured on the play. The Avs players converged on Rinaldo, the brusing winger felt he’d better make the first move. He swung at Girard, catching the Avs’ blueliner unexpectedly.
Girard dropped to the ice, holding his head. He was taken off the ice and went through the concussion protocol check and was able to return to the game.
Fifty-two penalty minutes were handed out in the fracas that ensued, with Rinaldo picking up a match penalty from referees Dan O’Rourke and Kyle Rehman.
Per Rule 46:
46.15 Match Penalty – A match penalty shall be assessed to a player who punches an unsuspecting opponent and causes an injury
This will be Rinaldo’s fifth suspension in the past five seasons, with his longest an eight-game sentence for boarding. At one point, he followed up a five-game NHL ban with a separate suspension in the AHL just days later.
Rinaldo’s hearing date has yet to be scheduled, though an in-person hearing is required to be offered for suspensions of five games or more.
Arizona’s Zac Rinaldo has been offered an in-person hearing for a punch to an unsuspecting opponent, Colorado’s Samuel Girard. Date and time TBD.
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) December 24, 2017
He remains suspended indefinitely until that hearing takes place.
Once the verdict comes down, he should remain on the sidelines for an extended period of time.