DALLAS - Zac Rinaldo's five-game NHL suspension is over and he likely will make his Coyotes debut on Tuesday when Arizona skates vs. the Stars at American Airlines Center.
"We've worked him in practice and he looks good in practice," Head Coach Rick Tocchet said Monday. "He's an energy guy. He's the type of guy that can get some life on the bench and he doesn't hurt you on the ice. He's got an underrated shot."
The League suspended Rinaldo for five games after he delivered an illegal check to the head of Tampa Bay's Cedric Paquette in a game played Feb. 28, 2016. Rinaldo has not played in the NHL since that hit. He signed with the Coyotes last summer.
"I am champing at the bit," Rinaldo said. "I'm excited to be in that atmosphere again. I am just really excited to play."
Rinaldo, a forward, skated on a line with Jordan Martinook and Mario Kempe at Monday's practice.
"A year and a half is like the longest five-game suspension in NHL history," Rinaldo sid. "You can laugh about it, I laughed about it, but now it's not a laughing matter … I worked my (butt) off to be here and I'm going to stay here. I'm going to do whatever I can every day, every practice and every game to stay here."
Rinaldo has played 275 NHL games. He has produced nine goals, 18 assists and 655 penalty minutes. He said he would play with the same style this time around the NHL.
"I have to be cautious of how I do it and go about doing it," Rinaldo said. "I have learned a lot from not being in the League actually. I have seen a lot, and seen how to adapt in different scenarios, and that is what I'm going to do. (But) I'm still going to forecheck hard and bring energy into our system."
Tocchet is eager to see what Rinaldo can bring to a team seeking its first victory of the season.
"The players love him and the trainers love him," Tocchet said. "He's a great guy. He's just got to be careful. He can't get too amped up. He's got to stay within the system, but he could definitely add some life to the team."