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Zac Rinaldo not suspended for hit on Sean Couturier 10.22.15 at 4:37 pm ET
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Bruins forward Zac Rinaldo will not be given any supplemental discipline for his hit on Flyers forward Sean Couturier, the Department of Player Safety announced Thursday.

Rinaldo was given a charging major and game misconduct for the hit, which occurred late in the first period of Philadelphia’€™s 5-4 overtime win over the B’€™s. Though Rinaldo is considered a repeat offender because he’€™s been suspended within the last 18 months, such status is only applied to plays deemed to be suspendable in a vacuum. Had Rinaldo’€™s hit been suspendable in the league’€™s eyes, his punishment would have been steeper than that of a first-time offender.

The video explaining the league’€™s decision outlines that Rinaldo does not elbow Couturier, commit interference or target the head. The video also says that Rinaldo did not launch into the hit or leave his feet.

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Pierre McGuire on OM&F: Zac Rinaldo hit on Sean Couturier was dirty at 1:53 pm ET
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Pierre McGuire

Pierre McGuire

NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance on Ordway, Merloni and Fauria on Thursday to look back at the Bruins’ overtime loss to the Flyers Wednesday night. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.

During the game Bruins forward Zac Rinaldo hit Flyers forward Sean Couturier from behind against the boards at the end of the first period. He was given a game misconduct for the hit. McGuire said it was a dirty play.

“It’s against a defenseless player,” McGuire said. “It’s against a guy who isn’t making a play on the puck. I didn’t like the play at all. I didn’t like it at all.”

“I like Zac Rinaldo as a guy, I really do,” he added. “I’ve gotten to know him over time watching him play junior hockey up in the Toronto area and he’s had to scratch and claw to make it to the professional level, especially at the NHL level. He always plays to the line and I didn’t like that last night. He went over the line last night. He really did.”

Although the Bruins blew a two-goal third period lead and lost 5-4 in overtime, McGuire said it wasn’t all bad for the home team.

“There were some very good things in that game last night for Boston, too. It wasn’t all doom and gloom,” McGuire said. “But, this is a much different team. This is a much different team that Bruins fans have become used to since about 2010.”

Tuukka Rask is 1-3-1 this season and McGuire noted how important it is to get the Bruins’ goaltender back on track.

“You need goaltending. There’s no question,” he said. “It is a very important part of the game and confidence is an issue. I know it was a great shot from Wayne Simmonds, that was Wayne Simmonds’ 101st goal in 290 games as a member of the Flyers last night. I can tell you this right now, if Tuukka is on the angle, that is high glove side from a right-hand shot coming down the left-hand side of the ice, that is a stoppable puck for a guy that is on the angle. He was off the angle. He was cheating short side and he got beat long side. He’s got to be more square and I think he would be the first person to tell you that.”

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Zac Rinaldo ‘for sure’ concerned about suspension after hit on Sean Couturier 10.21.15 at 11:52 pm ET
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Zac Rinaldo is well aware that his hit on Sean Couturier in the first period of Wednesday’€™s loss to the Flyers got the attention of the Department of Player Safety.

A repeat offender given that he’€™s been suspended within the last 18 months, Rinaldo said he is “for sure” concerned about being suspended for his charging major Wednesday, which came with a game misconduct.

Though Rinaldo did not target the head, the hit was highly avoidable given how late it was. He said after the game that his intention was to lay a clean hit.

“I saw the puck coming around the boards and I thought he still had full control of the puck, and I just tried to deliver a body check,” Rinaldo said.

Asked whether he felt he actually did lay a clean hit, Rinaldo reiterated, “That’€™s what I was trying to do, yeah: deliver a clean hit, just go through the body. It’€™s a part of the game, so that’€™s what I tried to do.”

Rinaldo has been suspended three times for a total of 14 games in his career.

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Zac Rinaldo not worried about Canadiens, but he’s paying attention to Department of Player Safety 10.09.15 at 5:53 pm ET
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Zac Rinaldo made his Bruins debut Thursday. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

After drawing both a penalty and the ire of some Jets in his Bruins debut, Zac Rinaldo can expect nothing short of chaos in his second game.

Saturday night will mark Rinaldo’€™s 11th career game against the Canadiens, but his first against them as a Bruin. Considering that Rinaldo’€™s hated by plenty of opponents to begin with, he could be a welcome addition to a rivalry that has always invited madness.

Given that he considers himself an energy player, he wasn’€™t exactly energetic when asked about entering the Boston-Montreal rivalry. That’€™s because he prides himself on taking all opponents seriously.

“I never have embraced one specific team because of the rivalry of each team,” Rinaldo said Friday. “If I have personal issues with someone on the ice, I’€™ll keep that to myself and I’€™ll deal with that when that time comes, but I’€™ve never taken a more [seriously], I’€™d never work harder against the Montreal Canadiens than I’€™ll work against the New York Rangers, San Jose Sharks or LA Kings. I’€™m going to play every game the same way I play every team in the league.”

Rinaldo obviously didn’€™t see the result he wanted from his first game with the B’€™s, but he did take a positive from Thursday’€™s 6-2 loss. After watching Patrice Bergeron catch an elbow to the face from Winnipeg forward Alexander Burmistrov, Rinaldo said he was impressed that Bergeron went after the player rather than trying to milk a better call than the minor that was assessed.

Rinaldo, who has been suspended multiple times in his career for a total of 14 games, said he told Boston’€™s alternate captain after the play that he was impressed by the character he showed.

“A lot of guys in Bergeron’€™s situation, they would have dove,’€ Rinaldo said. “… I told him, I said, ‘€˜I really appreciate you not going down like that, you’€™re not flopping around on the ice and acting like you’€™re hurt. Instead, you got up and you dealt with your business like a grown man should and like a leader should.’€™ That was unbelievable on his part.”

Rinaldo knows dirty hits well, having committed his fair share in his young career. Though his reputation makes him a target capable of drawing penalties, a lot of the shots he takes could go uncalled by officials because of his past sins.

That means that if Rinaldo wants to avoid getting suspended again, he’€™s going to have to put up with more than he dishes out. Rinaldo said he held up on multiple plays Thursday against the Jets because he’€™s trying to be more cautious of getting suspended. After seeing Sharks forward Raffi Torres slapped with a 41-game ban for his preseason hit on Jakob Silfverberg, Rinaldo said he’€™s taking the Department of Player Safety much more seriously.

“Raffi’€™s a great guy,” Rinaldo said. “I met him in the summer and we both understand how hard it is to make that right decision. It’€™s a quick millisecond — not even, quicker than that — but it did open my eyes. My family and my friends told me to watch out because they’€™re not messing around. They want to make a mark and they did that. It really opened my eyes.”

Rinaldo’€™s gone one game as a Bruin without crossing the line, and he intends to make it a lot longer than that. The Canadiens have brought out the worst in guys like Milan Lucic in the past, so Saturday will be a bigger test of his restraint.

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Strength in numbers: Bruins will have most new players in an opening night under Claude Julien 10.08.15 at 1:28 pm ET
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The only time Claude Julien had more new faces to open a season with the Bruins, his was technically the new one.

“My first year I had over twenty new guys,” Julien said Thursday morning with a grin. “I didn’€™t know anybody, right?”

When Julien and the Bruins begin the season Thursday night, he will likely have five players making their Bruins debuts in Jimmy Hayes, Matt Beleskey, Joonas Kemppainen, Matt Irwin and Zac Rinaldo. That ties 2007-08, Julien’€™s first season with the B’€™s, as the most new Bruins in an opening night lineup in the Julien era, not counting backup goalies.

Between Julien’€™s first season and now, the most new Bruins on an opening night was three, which came in 2010-11 (Nathan Horton, Gregory Campbell, Tyler Seguin) and 2013-14 (Jarome Iginla, Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith). The Bruins have often had remarkably little roster turnover. Last season, for example, Bobby Robins was the only newbie in the lineup to begin the season.

Of course, players such as Robins who were in the organization beforehand had at least some comfort level with the B’€™s. All five of the new Bruins for Thursday’€™s opener were brought in this offseason in either trades or free agency. The number could have been even higher Thursday, but trade acquisition Colin Miller and 2009 sixth-round pick Tyler Randell are expected to be healthy scratches.

‘€œI think it’€™s been a good three-plus weeks where we’€™ve been able to kind of work individually as a group, as a line, with different players and different personalities,’€ Julien said. ‘€œEverything right now, we’€™re pleased with it, we’€™re optimistic and we just have to let things work themselves out too. I don’€™t have any issues with the number of new players. I just have a preoccupation with getting the whole group ready to play here tonight.’€

Beleskey will play on David Krejci‘€™s line with David Pastrnak, while Hayes will start off playing left wing with Ryan Spooner and Brett Connolly. Kemppainen and Rinaldo will skate on the fourth line with Chris Kelly. The only newcomer expected on the blue line Thursday, Irwin figures to be paired with Zach Trotman.

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Zac Rinaldo: ‘The way I piss people off is the way I play’ 09.22.15 at 1:58 pm ET
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Zac Rinaldo is entering his first season as a Bruin. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Zac Rinaldo is entering his first season as a Bruin. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

There was no surprise more pleasant in Sunday night’€™s preseason opener than Zac Rinaldo drawing a pair of penalties, neither of which came after the whistle and both of which led to Matt Irwin goals.

Speaking to Rinaldo about it Tuesday, he wasn’€™t very surprised. The oft-suspended fourth-liner said that he feels he can draw penalties during the course of play rather than after the whistle.

“With me, the way I piss people off is the way I play. I play hard, I play physical. Me doing that alone, I don’€™t even got to talk and guys hate me,” Rinaldo said. “I can hit everyone and just play hard and be physical on the puck. Guys don’€™t like that and they’€™ll get frustrated and take it out on me.

“My speed, too. My speed down low. They can’€™t handle me down low sometimes and they have to hold me up. You saw it in the preseason game. They [took] two penalties on me just because of my speed alone. I didn’€™t even get a couple hits to piss [them] off.”

Rinaldo said he intentionally stayed out of scrums Sunday against the Devils. Asked if he likes going into scrums with the objective of getting the opponent to take a penalty, Rinaldo was borderline offended.

“I’€™m not going to fake a fall-down or do something just to antagonize a guy, to draw a penalty,” he said. “That’€™s not me. I don’€™t fake the game like that.

Added Rinaldo: “I don’€™t fake. I’€™m a straight-up guy on the ice. I’€™m not going to fake an injury or pretend I’€™m hurt just to draw a penalty. I’€™m not like that and I hate guys who do that.”

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Bruins trade for Zac Rinaldo, seemingly on purpose 06.29.15 at 3:51 pm ET
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The Bruins continued their bewildering offseason Monday by swinging a trade with the Flyers for forward Zac Rinaldo.

Boston sent a third-round pick in the 2017 draft to Philadelphia for Rinaldo, a 25-year-old who has more games served in suspensions (14) than he has goals scored in his NHL career (eight). The most notable part of the Ontario native’s career to date was when he was handed an eight-game ban for this hit on Penguins defenseman Kris Letang.

Rinaldo has two years remaining on his contract, which carries a cap hit of $850,000. He was originally drafted in the sixth round by the Flyers in 2008.

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