Just over four minutes into the third period of the Flyers' 5-2 victory over the Sabres last night, Buffalo got set up in the offensive zone. Sabres defenseman Chad Ruhwedel dumped the puck into the corner from the point and, after he passed it, got steamrolled by Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo.
Rinaldo appeared to leave his feet as his shoulder made contact with Ruhwedel's head. Play continued as Ruhwedel struggled to get up off the ice and stumbled his way to the Sabres bench before play was blown dead.
Due to the match penalty call, Rinaldo will have a hearing with the head of the NHL Department of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan today after he reviews the hit. Rinaldo has only been suspended and fined once each in his career, both times in 2012.
In order to be a "repeat offender" according to league standards, he must have had an incident in the last 18 months. Quick math shows Rinaldo is not a repeat offender but the league also weighs player injury into the decision-making and Buffalo head coach Ted Nolan said after the game Ruhwedel has a concussion.
It was a violent, illegal hit all the way. Not only does Rinaldo make contact with Ruhwedel's head but he leaves his feet to do so. This is the type of hit the league is trying to rid itself of so I'd be surprised if Rinaldo got less than three games. I think 3-5 games is what Rinaldo could be facing.
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