Is six games enough for Zac Rinaldo’s latest suspension?

Getty
16 Comments

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety dropped its decision today: Zac Rinaldo has been suspended six games for punching an unsuspecting opponent (defenseman Samuel Girard of the Colorado Avalanche).

This comes after Rinaldo waived an opportunity for an in-person meeting with the NHL.

This is the fifth suspension of Rinaldo’s career. Here’s the video explanation from the league:

Looking around Hockey Twitter, one would think that many are unhappy with the call, whether it be those who believe it’s not nearly enough of a message sent by the league and, on the other hand, those who believe that Girard put himself in a perilous situation.

Former players seem to be coming out in support of Rinaldo, at least in some cases, like with Patrick O’Sullivan and Paul Bissonnette (who made some waves over the holiday break with his comments).

It’s difficult to argue that the Arizona Coyotes lose much here. While Rinaldo loses about $22K, the Coyotes are currently a cellar dweller who will play six games without a player who, before 2017-18, hadn’t appeared in the NHL since 2015-16. Rinaldo has two goals and one assist in 31 games.

Really, if anything, Rinaldo was standing in the way of the likes of Lawson Crouse.

Considering the minimal cost to the team, one wonders how much is learned here. Should the next CBA talks involve tweaks to the way this works? Should the teams who unleash “repeat offenders” suffer a fine or something else, rather than just seeing an often-marginal player leave the lineup?

Some believe that these issues are just a part of the game. Others argue that the NHL needs to make some changes. Where do you stand on the six-game suspension and how the league’s discipline system works after a call like this?

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.