New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The National Hockey League issued a four-game suspension -- the balance of the regular season -- to Philadelphia Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo on Monday.
Rinaldo was given a match penalty for an illegal check with 4:29 played in the third period of an eventual 5-2 Flyers win over Buffalo on Sunday, after delivering an elbow to the head of Sabres defenseman Chad Ruhwedel.
Ruhwedel left the game and did not return, eventually diagnosed with a concussion.
"After Ruhwedel snaps a shot towards the net, Rinaldo launches into him, clipping his head, and causing an injury. Rinaldo takes a poor angle of approach and does not make full body contact. Instead, he launches into Ruhwedel with force taking his head and making it the principal point of contact," noted the NHL department of player safety in a video review of the incident.
"It is important to note, that although Ruhwedel is bent over to shoot the puck, his posture does not make head contact unavoidable on what otherwise would have been a legal body check."
Rinaldo will forfeit $15,384.60 in salary, which automatically goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund. He will not be eligible to return until the club begins the Stanley Cup playoffs, missing out on Tuesday's game in Florida, Thursday at Tampa Bay, Saturday in Pittsburgh and the season- finale at home on Sunday against Carolina.
The feisty 23-year-old native of the Toronto area has felt the sting of punitive action twice before.
In early February of 2012, he was fined a total of $5,000 for two separate incidents in a game against New Jersey. The first came for a late hit on Jacob Josefson and the second for an intentional slew-foot of Zach Parise.
Later in the month, he was suspended for two games after an illegal check on Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson.