DENVER (AP) — Arizona Coyotes center Zac Rinaldo has been suspended six games for punching Samuel Girard of the Colorado Avalanche.

gettyimages 899155008 Coyotes Center Suspended 6 Games For Punching Avs Girard

Sven Andrighetto #10 of the Colorado Avalanche and Derek Stepan #21 of the Arizona Coyotes fight for control of the puck at the Pepsi Center on December 27, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Rinaldo was expected to take part in a phone hearing Wednesday with the NHL after waiving his right to have an in-person hearing. The league’s player safety department announced his suspension with a tweet about an hour before the Coyotes’ second game in four days against the Avalanche.

During the second period of Arizona’s 6-2 loss to Colorado on Saturday, Rinaldo, who was playing with a broken nose, delivered an aggressive check on Nathan MacKinnon in the neutral zone. With MacKinnon hunched over after the hit, Girard confronted Rinaldo before the Arizona center punched the rookie in the face.

gettyimages 899154994 Coyotes Center Suspended 6 Games For Punching Avs Girard

Clayton Keller #9 of the Arizona Coyotes brings the puck down the ice against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on December 27, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

This is the fifth suspension of Rinaldo’s career. He was banned eight games for boarding Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang in 2015 and five games for an illegal hit on Tampa Bay forward Cedric Paquette last season.

By BRENT W. NEW

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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