Sports

Coyotes F Rinaldo suspended 6 games

Rinaldo sucker-punched Colorado rookie Girard

Arizona Coyotes forward Zac Rinaldo was suspended for six games, the NHL's Department of Public Safety announced Wednesday night.

Rinaldo was disciplined for sucker-punching Colorado Avalanche rookie Samuel Girard during the Coyotes' 6-2 loss on Saturday night.

It was the fifth career suspension for Rinaldo, who is in his first season with Arizona and sixth overall in the NHL.

The incident occurred midway through the second period of Saturday's game. Rinaldo delivered a legal check to Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon at center ice, and MacKinnon bent over in pain.

Girard skated toward Rinaldo, and the Arizona forward dropped his gloves and punched Girard, who was still holding his stick as he skated by.

Rinaldo waived an in-person hearing and instead had a phone hearing with the league.

In its announcement, the Department of Player Safety said "Rinaldo was suspended, without pay, for punching an unsuspecting opponent."

Rinaldo's punishment began with Wednesday night's rematch between Arizona and Colorado in Denver.

"It's an unfortunate play, a confluence of different events," said Coyotes general manager John Chayka, per Arizonasports.com. "Zac has a history of being suspended in the league, although it's for different reasons, and obviously that was heavily weighed. ... He made a mistake so he gets punished."


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