NHL suspends Flyers’ Rinaldo for four games

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The NHL decided to suspend rugged Philadelphia Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo four games for an illegal check to the head on Buffalo Sabres defenseman Chad Ruhwedel from Sunday night. The Flyers only play four more regular season games in 2013-14, so Philly fans won’t see the hard-hitter again until the playoffs (assuming they hold onto a spot in the East).

The league cites Ruhwedel’s concussion, the nature of the hit (stating that Rinaldo “launched” into his head, which was believed to be the main point of contact) and prior history in making the decision.

Rinaldo, 23, was already suspended by the league once and fined on two other occasions during three abbreviated seasons (165 regular season games, seven in the postseason) of NHL work. He received a match penalty during the play as the Flyers bested the Sabres 5-2 on the night.

Rinaldo will be short $15,384.60 thanks to the suspension.

Update: The Flyers responded to the suspension with this statement: