Zac Rinaldo has drawn the ire of the outspoken Tampa Bay Lightning, who made their displeasure clear after Rinaldo knocked two of their players out of Monday’s game.
Rinaldo, one of the Flyers' most consistent players recently, said Friday he hadn't read Tampa Bay’s comments.
“I don’t pay attention to what other people say,” Rinaldo said. “It doesn’t bother me at all.”
Rinaldo’s clean hit in the neutral zone on Ryan Malone injured Malone’s shoulder, which could require surgery. Malone was already placed on injured reserve. Another hit on Victor Hedman knocked him out of the game, though it was just as a precaution, since Hedman played on Wednesday in Toronto.
Rinaldo has kept his nose clean this season. He has not been suspended and he has drawn more penalties than he has taken. Rinaldo leads the NHL with 32.88 hits per 60 minutes; he's got 114 hits in 207:57 of total ice time. It's important to note that Rinaldo did not have a disciplinary hearing on either of the hits.
Tampa Bay’s B.J. Crombeen said he asked Rinaldo to fight in the third period on Monday to answer for his hits, but said Rinaldo declined. The two fought on Feb. 5 in Philadelphia, when Crombeen complained that Rinaldo had gotten in extra punches while Crombeen was on his knees.
“Obviously, when he’s hurting players you want him to be accountable for his actions," Crombeen told the Tampa Bay Times. "There’s always a time and place for it. It will come. You just have to wait for it.”
Forward Pierre-Cedric Labrie also traded verbal shots with Rinaldo during the game.
“He’s actually a good hitter,” Labrie said. “It’s just that sometimes he doesn’t think. At some point he has to pay for his bad behavior.”
If the Lightning are going to try and make Rinaldo pay, they’ll have to wait until next season. The two teams closed out this season’s series on Monday.
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers