Zac Rinaldo is always good for one thing every game.....a strong, bone-crunching hit.
It's early in the season and already the kid's served (team leading) 56-minutes in the sin bin. Most of those ticks from the clock come from dropping the mitts. But a good handful of those come at the cost from legal hockey plays mistakenly interpreted as infractions by the officials.
Officiating in this league is sub-par, to put it lightly. Don't kid yourselves, there is no conspiracy theory involving the referees hating the Philadelphia Flyers and always being one sided against our boys. The charging penalty handed to Rinaldo last night in the Flyers win over Florida was just further evidence of poor on-ice governing --
When a player is called for charging then that signifies that the offender (Rinaldo) never quit advancing/skating from a considerable distance away from the player he's hit.
Or, according to the league's CBA --
42.1 Charging - A minor or major penalty shall be imposed on a player who skates or jumps into, or charges an opponent in any manner.
A minor or major Charging shall mean the actions of a player who, as a result of distance traveled, shall violently check an opponent in any manner. A “charge” may be the result of a check into the boards, into the goal frame or in open ice.
Zac Rinaldo in this case glided into Tomas Kopecky. His skates were never moving or increasing his momentum at least ten (or so) feet from contact, which completely eliminates the charge infraction altogether.
The confusion was created because Kopecky got sauced like a high fastball, and the poor bastard's helmet popped off like the cork off a champagne bottle. This led the referees to believe Rinaldo's legal hit was a charge.
Then some may argue about Zac's contact.
Rinaldo's outside shoulder to Kopecky's inside shoulder. Legal hit. Yet, because Zac is who he is, the benefit of the doubt is rewarded to Tomas Kopecky and his flying helmet....which is still orbiting the earth from that clash.
Not enough evidence to prove Rinaldo's getting the short end of the stick?
What about the fact that after Zac served his 2-minute minor, Matt Bradley seeks him out on the ice for some vengeance --
The CBA clearly states --
46.11 Instigator - An instigator of an altercation shall be a player who by his actions or demeanor demonstrates any/some of the following criteria: distance traveled; gloves off first; first punch thrown; menacing attitude or posture; verbal instigation or threats; conduct in retaliation to a prior game (or season) incident; obvious retribution for a previous incident in the game or season.
"Obvious retribution for a previous incident in the game," hmmmm, everyone knew Bradley went after Rinaldo for the hit he laid on Kopecky earlier. Even Florida's terrible game announcers.
Instigators can be handed a minor or major penalty given some circumstances listed in the rest of Article 46 of the league's CBA, but for some reason nothing was called on Bradley. The Flyers never went on the man advantage.
Just a few linesmen with blinders on because, "Oh, it's Zac Rinaldo."
I don't want Zac to change a thing about his game. He's tenacious, energetic, and brings a brand of thunder to the roster no other Flyer can.
He's been sent to serve penalties more often than not on hits like these, but a good majority of them are legal hockey plays. It'd be a shame to see Rinaldo's leash get shorter due to poor officiating. It's a crime against the sport.
Instead of changing his game, Rinaldo ought to invest his time in perfecting it. Don't give the referees a chance to consider the margin of THEIR error. Leave nothing up for questioning except how many birds the opposing player's watching circle his head after the hit.