Skip to content

Bettman upholds Rielly's 5-game suspension

Joel Auerbach / Getty Images Sport / Getty

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman upheld Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly's five-game suspension for cross-checking Ottawa Senators forward Ridly Greig, the league announced Tuesday.

"Based on my review of the video (of the incident), I find that Mr. Rielly's actions were not merely careless or reckless, they were intentional," Bettman wrote in a report of his ruling.

Rielly appealed his ban during a hearing on Feb. 16. He sat out his team's last four games and is eligible to return Thursday against the Vegas Golden Knights. The Maple Leafs are undefeated during his absence.

The 29-year-old earned the suspension in the dying seconds of Toronto's heated 5-3 loss to the Senators on Feb. 10. He cross-checked Greig up high after the rookie took a slap shot into the empty net to cap off the contest.

"This was not a case where Mr. Rielly and Mr. Greig had been engaging with one another, nor was this an inadvertent high stick during the course of play," Bettman explained. "Rather, as Mr. Rielly himself acknowledged, he sought retribution for what he perceived to be a 'disrespectful' act that he believed was intended to embarrass Toronto."

The incident is the subject of much debate in the hockey world. Maple Leafs veteran Ryan Reaves backed his teammate's response, though it appears Rielly disagrees with the support he's received from around the league.

"I commend Mr. Rielly for forthrightly disavowing suggestions that have been made publicly by others that his actions were somehow appropriate," Bettman said.

This is the first suspension of Rielly's 11-year NHL career.

The Leafs will take on the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday as they look to go a perfect 5-0-0 without the blue-liner within their ranks.

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox