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09-27-2011, 09:12 AM
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Prospect Rinaldo using preseason to grow

For a guy who's not a prospect, he is certainly making the news, and probably the team....


Which is why when the fiery Italian scored a goal for the Flyers in Toronto last week, coach Peter Laviolette said it was no accident. The coaching staff had been pushing Rinaldo to use his talents for something other than just agitating on the ice.

Rinaldo went flying up the left wing, took a nifty pass from Jakub Voracek, then went forehand/backhand on Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer to score.

“We tried to tell Zac to play some hockey,” Laviolette said. “Literally, we told him to go down the wing and score a goal. Cycle the puck like we do in practice. Play good defense, block some shots.

“He did all of that along with bringing a physical element to his game. He was in control. It was a good showing by him.”


Laviolette played him in two playoff games against Boston last spring. Even though his ice time wasn’t enough to freeze a snow cone, Laviolette liked what he saw.

“It never panned out because in both those games we went down 3-0 at the 15-minute mark of the first period,” Laviolette said. “There went the game plan and use of him. We needed to score four goals and I had to double shift guys who could put the puck in the back of the net.

“He had a year where he grew as a player. He stayed here this summer. He made a commitment. He worked really hard. He is in terrific shape. I like his physical presence.”

Rinaldo in fight for Flyers roster spot


For Rinaldo, the circumstances don't matter. He just wants to be an NHLer. And Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said Rinaldo had an opening to make the team either way.

"I think I've set myself up in a good position," Rinaldo said. "It's not me this time, I'm not suspended. I'm being safe, I'm letting up on a lot of hits. I feel positive. They're giving me a chance to play hockey and I've ran with it."

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