The Tampa Bay Lightning have an axe to grind with Zac Rinaldo.
The Flyers forward has been a thorn in the Bolts’ side throughout this season — cold-cocking BJ Crombeen in a fight, taking out both Victor Hedman and Ryan Malone — and now Tampa players are suggesting retribution is in order.
“Obviously, when he’s hurting guys, you want him to be accountable for his actions,” Crombeen told the Tampa Bay Times. “There’s always a time and place, and it will come.
“You just have to wait for it.”
Though the Bolts and Flyers won’t face each other again this season, Crombeen’s sentiment was echoed by Lightning winger Pierre-Cedric Labrie.
“Sometimes [Rinaldo] just doesn’t think,” he explained. “At some point he has to pay for his bad behavior.”
In case you’re unaware of Rinaldo’s history with the Lightning, let’s go to the video.
First, here’s the incident with Crombeen from Feb. 5:
Both combatants had distinctly different views on the fight.
“Typically when I’ve gotten into fights with guys in that position, you stop throwing,” Crombeen said after the game. “I mean, guys fight different ways, so I’m not really going to say if it was dirty or not.”
When asked about the scrap, Rinaldo said he finished it properly.
“I hit him until he was down,” he told reporters. “I’m not going to hit nobody no matter who they are or what they done, I’ll never hit someone when they’re down. I hit him until he was down. I made sure he was down and that was it.
“I kind of felt bad in case I didn’t stop myself, but I’m pretty sure I did.”
Now fast forward to Monday (Mar. 18), when the Bolts beat the Flyers 4-2 in Tampa. Rinaldo landed big hits on Hedman and Malone, with the latter ending up on injured reserve (shoulder).
Here’s the hit in question:
According to Damian Cristodero of the Times, the Lightning organization reviewed the Rinaldo-Malone hit internally before deeming it clean.
Not that it’s done much to the appease players.