Zac Rinaldo’s got jokes about ejection for Kris Letang hit

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Greg Wyshynski
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The Philadelphia Flyers didn’t hide Zac Rinaldo from the media after he was ejected from their 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, the result of a nasty leaping hit into defenseman Kris Letang. Which was surprising, given that the NHL’s Department of Player Safety was reviewing the incident as he spoke. 

After his quotes began circulating through the Twittersphere, the NHL quickly announced that he’ll receive an in-person hearing, likely meaning a suspension of more than five games. 

Why the swift announcement? Might have had something to do with Rinaldo saying he expected one. And for being a tad glib about the whole thing. 

Rinaldo was defiant, perhaps hoping that everyone in the arena and watching at home simultaneously blacked out during his first-period game misconduct.

“I hit him backside of the shoulder. I don’t know … maybe the power of my hit … his head hit the glass. I didn’t hit from behind. I hit didn’t him in the numbers. It was the backside of the shoulder. That’s how I saw it.”

That hit again:

The backside of the shoulder not being “from behind” aside, the other issue for Rinaldo was that he was charging in to make the hit on a prone player and left his skates to drive Letang’s head into the glass.

Rinaldo’s response? “Hey, quit watching hits in slo-motion or else you’ll see all the illegal stuff!!!"

“I was going pretty fast. I think the impact of me hitting him sent them up a little bit. If you slow down any hit, you see guys every single hit [doing something] that can be criticized.

“I don’t think they should slow it down and dissect every little thing.”

This is either a lunkheaded argument against the spread of video review in the NHL or a hilarious, childlike defense against the policing of illegal hits. It’s like a criminal saying a jury shouldn’t watch video surveillance footage of a bank robbery because the cops didn’t catch him in “real time.”

So you’re totally getting suspended right, Zac?

“More than likely I’m going to get suspended. Yeah.”

He added that Letang’s reputation, his reputation and the injury on the hit were all factors.

But if there’s one thing we love about Zac Rinaldo, it’s that he knows to always leave’em laughing after discussing how he potentially concussed an opponent with a hit that will likely earn him a half-dozen games or more suspension. 

Say Zac … didja see how crazy the game was in the second period with all those fights? As he said with a smirk:

“Yeah, I changed the whole game, man. [Expletive], who knows what the game would have been like if I didn’t do what I did?”

Now, that might have sounded like Rinaldo was making light of the play, joking that it was the catalyst for the chaos that followed. But as he tweeted later, he totally wasn't making a joke or anything:

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