USATSI_8281379_154158418_lowresPhiladelphia Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo has been tagged with an eight game suspension for his actions on Tuesday, January 20, when he boarded Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Kris Letang.

The NHL handed down the suspension today.

Letang clearly didn’t have the puck on the play and he was utterly defenceless, which makes the Rinaldo hit gutless by definition. The Flyer was tossed from the game and spoke to the media afterwards, which probably didn’t help his cause much.

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

He’s right, you know. And they probably should stop using those pesky security cameras when trying to identify criminals, too. After all, it’s not wrong if nobody sees what you’re doing and makes a proper judgment call.

Letang stayed on the ice after the hit and had to be helped off with training staff, but he did practice on Monday and there are estimations that he’ll be okay for Tuesday’s action. He passed all concussion tests, so that’s a good thing.

It also means that the NHL didn’t take injuries into account when they handed down this doozy of a suspension for Rinaldo. What they did take into account is previous history.

The Flyer was suspended four games last season for a hit on Buffalo Sabres defenceman Chad Ruhwedel and saw a two-game ban for charging Jonathan Ericsson in 2012. He was also fined for a late hit on Jacob Josefson and a trip on Zach Parise, both in the same game.

So yeah, history mattered. His post-game comments also probably mattered, as the NHL’s Department of Player Safety might’ve taken his lack of humility and his immediate lack of remorse (he later apologized on Twitter) into account.

Whatever the case may be, Rinaldo’s out for eight games. And his wallet is out $73,170.72. Talk about impact.

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