PHILADELPHIA – Zac Rinaldo admitted it was a different feeling to be back at the Wells Fargo Center for a Tuesday afternoon practice with the Boston Bruins rather than the Philadelphia Flyers. The fourth line energy forward was drafted and developed by the Flyers, and he’d known nothing else except the Broad Street Bullies from the time he was 18-years-old until he was traded to Boston for a third round pick last summer.
“It’s a different feeling, obviously…it’s a totally different feeling now that I’m with another team,” admitted Rinaldo, who had eight goals and 24 points in four season with the Flyers along with a slew of penalty minutes along the way. “I have so many [memories] here that I can’t pick out one any more than the others.
“I was here when I was 18 years old, and I just left [Philadelphia] and I’m 25 now. So every moment I had in this rink was savored, and I can’t pick one out now.”
The 25-year-old is now with the Bruins fully and completely, and has a goal and two points in 34 games with a minus-7. The B’s fourth line is really coming together with Max Talbot and Landon Ferraro, and Rinaldo himself is coming off one of his best games of the year with a season-high five shots on net in the Monday night loss to the New York Rangers.
But Rinaldo had his mind on what awaits him on Wednesday night at his old Wells Fargo Center home, and what kind of reception he’ll get from the fan base. One would think that Rinaldo would be a fan favorite given his physical style of play and his fearlessness on the ice, but the left winger didn’t sound so sure about that.
“I’m just hoping for some positivity,” said Rinaldo. “I put my heart and soul into that team. I do that for every team, though. I do that for the Bruins now. It wasn’t just for the Flyers. But I put my heart and soul into the team, and into the city…so a little positivity would be nice.”
One thing that might complicate matters when it comes to his reception: the thunderous hit Rinaldo dropped on Sean Couturier back in Boston a couple of months ago when the new Bruins winger faced his old Flyers club for the first time. It knocked Couturier out of the Flyers lineup for a time with a concussion, and earned Rinaldo a game misconduct in a fitting statement that he no longer held any allegiances to the Flyers anymore.