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Rinaldo suspended five games for illegal check to Paquette’s head

Zac Rinaldo's penalty for his hit on Tampa Bay's Cedric Paquette leads to an Alex Killorn power-play goal which tied the game at one.

Bruins forward Zac Rinaldo has been suspended five games for an illegal check to the head of Lightning forward Cedric Paquette.

In the explanatory video, the NHL’s Department of Player said that Rinaldo made Paquette’s head the “main point of contact on a hit where such head contact is avoidable,” while later noting that Rinaldo is a repeat offender under terms of the CBA.

Prior to today’s ruling, Rinaldo had managed to avoid suspension/fine this season. However, he received an eight-game ban for charging/boarding Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang last season and, the season prior, was suspended four games for an illegal check to the head of then-Buffalo defenseman Chad Ruhwedel. He also served a two-game ban in 2012 for charging Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson.

The hit on Paquette was not Rinaldo’s first controversial play of 2015-16. In October, the Department of Player Safety released a video explaining why Rinaldo was not suspended for charging Flyers forward Sean Couturier.

Here’s the video explanation for the Paquette hit:

Yesterday, Rinaldo was assigned to AHL Providence. No word when or if he’ll be called up to serve his suspension.

The 25-year-old is under contract through next season for a cap hit of $850,000.