A massive suspension is expected to come down in the National Hockey League, and it could come as early as tomorrow.
The National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety has just announced that veteran forward Zac Rinaldo has declined his right to an in-person hearing, but it's the news that he was offered an in-person hearing in the first place that is the biggest reveal.
An in-person hearing is usually reserved for a player who will be facing a minimum suspension of 6 regular season games. This would appear to indicate that NHL Player Safety intends to throw the book at Rinaldo, who is a repeat offender.
This is likely to cause a great deal of controversy around the league. While Rinaldo has made himself an extremely unpopular player due to his history of delivering cheap shots to a number of different players, there are many who feel the incident that is currently being debated by NHL Player Safety is not one that warrants a major suspension.
Rinaldo landed himself in trouble when he effectively sucker punched Colorado Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard, but former players like Paul "Biz Nasty" Bissonette have come out and put the blame on Girard for the incident.
As you can see in the video below, Rinaldo delivers a hit to Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon, and given the current climate of the NHL you can see why he would expect to be challenged following a big hit on a star player. While Girard skates up to Rinaldo as if he was going to challenge him, he freezes up when Rinaldo drops the gloves.
Of course Rinaldo's well earned reputation is playing a huge factor in this entire incident and that is likely a bigger factor in the NHL's decision than even the punch itself.
How many games do you think he will get when the decision is announced tomorrow?