Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly has apologized for his choice of words on Friday morning that ignited a Twitter storm.

"Obviously, I want to apologize to any people I hurt this morning with my words," said Rielly of remarking that he and his teammates were "not here to be a girl about it and not worry about it" to reporters after being asked about work ethic.

The 20-year-old backed away from his remark on Friday afternoon.

"I didn't mean it the way it was taken and I'm sorry for the way it came across," he said.

Rielly met with TSN's Mark Masters on Friday afternoon in Raleigh ahead of his team's evening contest with the Carolina Hurricanes.

"It's a phrase that has to be taken out of today's society and I know I can't be using that," said Rielly. "It was just careless by me. Again, I'm sorry for the way it came across"

Social media was abuzz after Rielly's comments, with the defenceman trending on Twitter for most of the afternoon.

To @mriles4, incredibly condescending remark to all those girls & women who play hockey with passion & commitment and work hard every shift.

@mriles4 "not be a girl about it" Really. Did you really say that? You know you have female fans, right? Maybe you did now. #makeitright

Let's not overreact to Morgan Rielly's comments, but they were really stupid and great example of what not to say.