Flyers Notes: Rinaldo faces possible suspension for hit

Flyers' Zac Rinaldo celebrates his second period goal with his teammates on the bench against the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday, April 6, 2014. ( Yong Kim / Staff Photographer )
Flyers' Zac Rinaldo celebrates his second period goal with his teammates on the bench against the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday, April 6, 2014. ( Yong Kim / Staff Photographer )
Posted: April 08, 2014

Flyers winger Zac Rinaldo will have a hearing with the NHL and could be suspended for a hit to the head of Buffalo rookie Chad Ruhwedel with 15 minutes, 31 seconds remaining Sunday night.

"I shouldn't have done it," Rinaldo said after the Flyers whipped the Sabres, 5-2, at the Wells Fargo Center. "We're up, 4-0, and there was no need for it, but it is what it is. It's part of the game."

Ruhwedel suffered a concussion, which will not help Rinaldo's cause with the league.

"I had a lot of speed going at him," said Rinaldo, who scored his second goal of the season earlier in the game. "[Had] my shoulder down and as I hit him he shot the puck, and my shoulder hit his head, clearly."

Buffalo coach Ted Nolan criticized Rinaldo.

"Those are the type of hits that we have to get rid of," he said. "Those are not only dangerous hits but you're also putting a fellow player in jeopardy of his career . . . You're dealing with the brain."

"Teams need energy players like that," said Sabres defenseman Mike Weber, whom Rinaldo tripped during the game, "but there's a certain line you can't cross, and it seems like he's crossing it two, three times a year."

Flyers coach Craig Berube has praised Rinaldo for being more disciplined lately, and he even promoted him to the third line.

Rinaldo scored his first goal since Jan. 8, but he also finished with four penalties - goalie interference, charging, tripping, and a match penalty for the hit to the head.

"Got to be better. Got to be smarter," Berube said.

If Rinaldo is suspended, Steve Downie or Tye McGinn figures to play Tuesday in Florida.

New look

Flyers center Sean Couturier drastically trimmed his "mountain man" beard, saying it was "time to move on and try to start a new streak here."

Joked Couturier, 21: "I do feel younger."

Couturier entered Sunday with one goal in his last 23 games.

Breakaways

Luke Schenn had 10 hits and four blocked shots. . . . Vinny Lecavalier started the night on the fourth line, and Michael Raffl centered the second unit, with Brayden Schenn moving to wing. . . . Buffalo's Ville Leino, a former Flyer, is without a goal in 56 games this season.

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