March 4, 2024

Maple Leafs brace for stretch without defenseman Morgan Rielly

TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs are bracing to play their subsequent a number of video games without prime defenseman Morgan Rielly, who may very well be going through a prolonged suspension.

He has an in-person listening to with the NHL’s division of participant security scheduled for Tuesday in New York. An in-person listening to permits the league to droop Rielly for six or extra video games.

Rielly cross-checked Ridly Greig up excessive in retaliation for the Ottawa Senators participant firing a slap shot into an empty web with 5.1 seconds left within the groups’ sport Saturday night time.

“I think it definitely deserved a reaction,” teammate and fellow All-Star Auston Matthews mentioned after apply Monday. “Morgan’s not a malicious player and somebody that’s dirty, by any means. I think him approaching him was something that was just bound to happen. Somebody was going to do it, especially after a play like that. I just don’t think it’s really necessary to go down there and ‘hardest shot competition’ into the net.”

Toronto hosts the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night time and performs six video games over the following 10 days. If Rielly will get six video games, it will match the longest suspension handed out this season.

“I was expecting a fine, a one-game (suspension) max,” Leafs enforcer Ryan Reaves mentioned. “The kid got up after, (and he was) completely fine. I think that’s got to be taken into account, too.”

Reaves, 37, known as Rielly’s response “appropriate.”

“A guy takes a clapper into our net, you going to go play paddy-cake with him? No, there’s got to be a message sent,” Reaves mentioned. “The code’s changed a little bit, the game’s changed a lot and it’s unfortunate that a young kid like that can get away with something like that, and then one of our best players is going to get suspended for it.”

Rielly, 29, has no disciplinary historical past in his 11-year skilled profession. Greig, 21, the son of former NHL participant Mark Greig, is in his first full NHL season.

Senators coach Jacques Martin mentioned it did not matter how Greig scored the empty-netter and was not proud of Rielly’s actions.

“I think it’s not a hockey play,” Martin mentioned after the sport. “I don’t know if it’s frustration or something, but it’s not part of the game.”

Ottawa’s Josh Norris mentioned he understood Rielly’s frustration, despite the fact that he wasn’t a fan of the play.

“I loved it, but I’m sure obviously if we were on the other side, I don’t know if we would’ve liked it, either,” Norris mentioned. “It’s over with. I guess it was entertaining.”

Veteran ahead Claude Giroux mentioned it was a product of an intense sport.

“The emotions sometimes will get to you,” Giroux mentioned. “I obviously don’t like to see him getting in the face there, but there’s not much really to say. Sometimes that kind of stuff happens.”

The fallout is the Leafs, who’re making an attempt to carry on to a playoff spot within the Eastern Conference, coping with life without Rielly.

“We all got to pick up those minutes,” defenseman Mark Giordano mentioned. “Those are big minutes. He plays in every situation. He’s been really underrated this year across the league. I think offensively, obviously we all know what he does, but I think in all areas of the game he’s been really good this year. A big part of our team, obviously.”