Boston Bruins: Zac Rinaldo Has Changed His Game


When Zac Rinaldo joined the Boston Bruins, a lot of fans questioned Don Sweeney‘s judgment. Rinaldo had earned himself a reputation for being a dirty player. He had earned fourteen games worth of suspensions and had only produced six points (one goal) last season for the Philadelphia Flyers.  When he came to Boston, he promised that he was leaving that part of his game behind.

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If the preseason is any indication, it appears Rinaldo is intent on keeping his promise. Zac Rinaldo has gone from being a sad caricature of John Scott to a taller version of Brad Marchand. In the two preseason games he’s played. The 25-year old forward has earned an assist, produced two noteworthy plays that almost led to goals, drawn four penalties for the Bruins and has yet to see the inside of the penalty box.

I’d say this sums up my and a lot of other people’s opinion.

Zac Rinaldo made a strong and clean hit on Tommy Hughes. Rinaldo tagged him in front of the benches and got jumped by a version of his former self. Rangers enforcer Tanner Glass made a bee-line for Rinaldo, and the ensuing play gave the Bruins a late power play. While the Bruins didn’t score off it, they did end up coming from two goals down to tie the game in the final minute of regulation.

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  • “Typical hockey, as you know,” commented the Bruins forward of the play afterwards. “That’s just textbook hockey. You make a nice hit — and I think I hit a couple guys before that shift — and [Glass] came at me that shift. And I told him I’m going to keep running around. That’s just my game. They took a penalty on it, unfortunately we didn’t score on (it), but that’s just another part of my game that I can bring to the table.”

    The Bruins won in a shootout, taking the game by the score of 4-3. The Bruins are still undefeated in preseason play, and a certain amount of credit has to be placed at the former bad player turned legitimate play maker.

    That’s just the way it’s going,” said Rinaldo after the game. “I’m staying out of the stupid stuff, and I’m using my speed, and I’m just being a hard-nosed player. And guys aren’t liking it, and they’re taking penalties on it. I’m loving it. The more the merrier.”

    Coach Claude Julien is also pleased with the way the Rinaldo is handling himself so far.

    “Right there, it seemed to distract them [New York Rangers] more,” Julien said, “and it seemed like our guys were focused on trying to win a hockey game. He stayed out of trouble. It was a clean hit, and we’ll leave it at that.”

    If Zac Rinaldo can play like this in the regular season, he may end up with the Bruins 7th Player Award. He’s certainly exceeded expectations so far.

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