Zac Rinaldo suspended eight games for Kris Letang head-shot

Zac Rinaldo suspended eight games for Kris Letang head-shot

What is it about long suspensions and players with the letter ‘o’ in their last names recently? Probably a coincidence between Dan Carcillo’s recent six-game ban and Zac Rinaldo’s eight-game suspension for charging and boarding, which was announced Monday.

The Rinaldo hit in question occurred Jan. 20 when he charged and slammed a defenseless and puck-less Kris Letang into the boards of a Flyers/Penguins game. Left his feet, shoulder to face ... awful

Here is a look at the video – we don’t have an official NHL suspension vid at the moment … may have something to do with that pesky Northeastern snowstorm and stranded NHL personnel in Columbus from last weekend’s All-Star Game:

Completely and utterly brutal play by Rinaldo – who most of us picked for most-suspended player this year.

Last season Rinaldo, who waived his right to an in-person hearing, was suspended four games for a head-shot on Buffalo blueliner Chad Ruhwedel.

He was also suspended two-games for charging Jonathan Ericsson (2012), and was fined for a late hit on Jacob Josefson and tripping Zach Parise in the same game. Not quite in Carcillo territory, but getting there.

As for Letang, who missed one game, and his injury, the blueliner appears to be recovered per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Earlier today, following his team's practice at Consol Energy Center, Letang said he passed all concussion testing and was optimistic he will play in the Penguins' next game at home Tuesday against the Winnipeg Jets.

So eight games? Players like Rinaldo and Carcillo are interesting cases, as we pointed out recently. And the shifting dynamic away from oafish enforcers – see Scott, John – to more skill-type goons like Rinaldo and Carcillo has created an interesting wrinkle in how the game needs to be policed.

The fact that Rinaldo boasted about it afterwards is kind of absurd. Crushing someone’s skull … not a laughing matter, nor is being docked $73,170.72.

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!