The Department of Player Safety has suspended Zac Rinaldo for 4 games.
For contact to the head, and a player with a history, suspended once and fined twice, 4 games seems a touch light.
Ruhwedel’s upper body is low from taking his shot, and he is low well before Rinaldo is within contact. The other issue here for Rinaldo is Ruhwedel’s shoulder and chest is right there to be hit.
Rinaldo actually completes a pretty good hit, his elbow tucked in. One complaint you could have on the technique of the hit is one skate is off the ice before contact is made.
The issue for me is he had a target to hit besides the head and he made the decision to hit the head. The Department of Player safety even take that into account that the midline of Ruhwedel is there to be hit and Rinaldo choses not to.
I would give Rinaldo 20 games for this hit, which would take him through to probably the Conference Finals before he could play again. It is this kind of hit the NHL is wanting out of the game, there is only contact to Ruhwedel's head, nothing else.
The NHL want to get rid of hits like this, the punishments need to be harsher because the players are not worried with the suspensions being handed out now. If I had covered off on Rinaldo's first suspension the reality is he probably would have got 25 games as the carry over points would have taken him over 1250 points.
The league needs to come out before the start of the 2014-15 season and re-establish the parameters for their punishments. They need to state they got it wrong with the punitive level of the suspensions and put players on notice that things will be harsher.
The players can go to appeal if they like, and they will under precedence, but the league needs to get tougher.
Thanks for reading.