Skip to main content


Maple Leafs D Rielly to appeal suspension to NHL commissioner Bettman

Toronto Maple Leafs Morgan Rielly - The Canadian Press

Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly will appeal his five-game suspension to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, the team announced Wednesday.

Appealing to Bettman is Rielly's only path to potentially lowering his ban, since he isn’t eligible to appeal to a neutral arbitrator as the suspension is under six games.

Rielly was issued the suspension on Tuesday for cross-checking Ottawa Senators forward Ridly Greig in the dying seconds of Saturday's loss. He missed the first of the currently-scheduled five games as the Maple Leafs defeated the St. Louis Blues Tuesday night.

The NHL's player safety department announced the suspension Tuesday after meeting with Rielly virtually. The Maple Leafs blueliner was offered and accepted an in-person hearing, but was unable to reach New York due to inclement weather. 

It marked a first career suspension for Rielly, who made his NHL debut with the Maple Leafs in 2013.

The 29-year-old was ejected from Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Senators for the cross-check. He took exception to Greig firing an uncontested slapshot into an empty Leafs' net to cement the win, skating over to him and delivering the cross-check, sparking a melee.

“I don’t think you’re ever expecting the guy to come cross check you in the face. But I also am not sure if he meant to do that,” Greig said Tuesday, speaking for the first time since the incident. 

“It was just a lot of adrenaline," he added of the slapshot. "Just the heat of the moment. The game was an emotional game. Just got a breakaway and thought I’d bury it.”

Rielly is in his 11th NHL season and leads Maple Leaf defencemen with seven goals and 43 points in 50 games. The Vancouver native also leads the Maple Leafs in average ice time at 24:21. TJ Brodie is second on the team in average ice time, well behind Rielly at 21:46 per game.