In case you missed it, last night Adam McQuaid took a pretty nasty hit from behind at the hands of Washington Capitals forward Zach Sill. Amazingly enough there was no penalty called on the play as McQuaid laid on the ice without much movement. Here’s a clip of the incident:
For what it’s worth the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reviewing the hit and Sill has a hearing today with the league. There’s been no update on McQuaid’s status but certainly he won’t be suiting up this weekend. Sill has no “priors” to be weary of but it wouldn’t shock me if he received a 2-3 game suspension as it was the kind of hit the NHL is looking to eliminate from the game completely.
What did shock me about the play however was the response, or lack thereof, by the Bruins to the hit. Countless times throughout an NHL season we see reactionary fights happen when a big clean hit is thrown and everybody scratches their head because the hit was in fact clean. So when a dangerous blind-side hit goes down like last night the one guy you’d expect to see step up for Boston, and maybe even go absolutely bananas over it, is Zac Rinaldo. And he was right there when it happened but didn’t lift a finger. He didn’t even react. In fact, he glides away from the situation immediately after the hit and rests his stick on his knees to catch a breather. The only player to step up was Patrice Bergeron who immediately went after Zach Sill but no one can expect him to fight. But his reaction to at least confront Sill is no surprise coming from a leader like Bergeron.
Even though Rinaldo and Tyler Randell (who wasn’t on the ice for the incident) both unsuccessfully tried to bait Sill into a fight a few shifts later it wasn’t enough. When the Bruins wasted a 3rd round pick on Zac Rinaldo this past summer the McQuaid hit was probably the one moment this season so far that was built for him and he didn’t seize it. If that’s the case then what is he doing in the lineup? His hit early in the game on Tom Wilson was a nice tone setter but a lot of players can get up to speed and throw a nice big hit. Not a lot of guys get the chance, or have the temperament like Rinaldo, to step up, make the sacrifice and throw haymakers when the opportunity arises. He NEEDED to step up then if the referees were going to be too blind to discipline Sill themselves.
With that being said, I think if I were Claude Julien and David Pastrnak is ready to return to the lineup that Rinaldo will be the first guy I’m putting in the press box.