ZAC RINALDO said he let his emotions get the best of him.
With his team trailing by a touchdown in Wednesday night’s Game 4, Rinaldo wanted to flatten someone. Pittsburgh defenseman Zbynek Michalek just happened to get in the way.
With 3:17 to go in the second period, Rinaldo ran into Michalek on the endboards and cross-checked him in the back. While Michalek sat on his knees to get up, after the whistle had blown, Rinaldo shoved him back down to the ice.
The referee had already made an original, two-minute minor call on Rinaldo for the cross-check.
With the subsequent blow, right in front of the referee, Rinaldo was handed an additional roughing penalty, a game misconduct and a 10-minute misconduct. Rinaldo has played 19:44 in total ice time this series; he has been whistled for 46 minutes in penalties.
Rinaldo will apparently not receive any supplementary discipline from the league. No hearing had been scheduled with Brendan Shanahan’s overwhelmed Department of Player Safety as of Thursday afternoon.
“Frustration came out on me,” Rinaldo said Thursday. “It happens in hockey, you see it all the time. I’ll roll with the punches. Whatever happens, happens.”
Rinaldo said he did not regret his hits.
“I don’t regret doing it. I play with my emotions,” Rinaldo said. “I don’t think I put my team down. It was already 9-3 when I went out there. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I was really frustrated that we were getting blown out of the water, so I took matters into my own hands.”
Rinaldo said Michalek never did anything antagonistic.
“It was just personal frustrations,” Rinaldo said. “He didn’t do anything.”