Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Zac Rinaldo could be in trouble again, as the Arizona Coyotes forward was offered an in-person hearing from the Department of Player Safety after punching Colorado defenseman Samuel Girard. Rinaldo has waived his right to that in-person meeting and will instead try to defend himself over the phone tomorrow.

Because the league offered Rinaldo the meeting, the NHL reserves the right to suspend him for five or more games, which seems likely given his history. Rinaldo has already been suspended four times in the past despite playing in just 306 career NHL games. After delivering a check on Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon, Rinaldo grabbed Girard and threw a punch while the defenseman was looking past him. While both Erik Johnson and MacKinnon were immediately involved in altercations, their discipline will be limited to the major fighting penalties they served and MacKinnon’s game misconduct.

Rinaldo was last suspended in March 2016, meaning he isn’t technically a repeat offender in terms of the salary he will sacrifice if suspended. Still, the DOPS may use his past transgressions in deciding his fate, as all previous incidents are considered regardless of how long ago they took place.

Last year we saw Micheal Haley suspended one game for a similar punch, his first such discipline from the DOPS. One would imagine a regular offender like Rinaldo will face a stiffer penalty.

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This article first appeared on Pro Hockey Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

PLAYERS: Zac Rinaldo
TEAMS: Arizona Coyotes
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