The post Controversial Cross-Check Likely to See Morgan Rielly Suspended appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

In a polarizing conclusion to Saturday’s game against the Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly was ejected in the dying seconds of their 5-3 loss. As the Maple Leafs trailed by a goal in the closing moments, Ottawa’s Ridly Greig seized the opportunity for an empty-net goal with a powerful slapshot. Rielly took issue with Greig’s decision to boom a heater into the empty net and responded by forcefully checking him into the boards. The problem was, he cross-checked him in the head, triggering a late-game brawl. Rielly is looking at a lengthy suspension because of his actions.

The 29-year-old defenseman received a five-minute cross-checking major and a game misconduct. But, the controversial hit has sparked discussions among fans and analysts. Many are debating the potential length of Rielly’s suspension versus his right to take exception. Some are suggesting an in-person hearing and predicting a minimum of five games.

Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe weighed in on the incident. He expressed his view that Rielly’s reaction was appropriate given the circumstances. He’s not alone in that feeling. Rielly’s decision to go after Greig has fueled debates on the unwritten “Code” in hockey. Some believe Rielly should have engaged in a fight instead, but that Greig should have seen it coming.

Others argue Rielly was way off in his reaction. The cross-check was nasty and dangerous. So too, if Toronto doesn’t want to be embarrassed, don’t lose to teams like the Ottawa Senators. Moreover, don’t put yourself in a position to be embarrassed.

The Timing and Severity of the Hit Is What Will Hurt Rielly

Senators’ veteran Claude Giroux acknowledged the intensity of the situation, stating, “Sometimes that stuff happens.” He seemed to recognize that Greig probably shouldn’t have taken the shot, but also that the cross-check was too much. Giroux, and others, also seemed to acknowledge that a response was justified. Considering the potential criticism the Leafs would face for being perceived as soft, it couldn’t go unanswered.

Morgan Rielly cross-check

Had he not gotten his stick high, this would be less of an issue. Because it was in the dying seconds and the stick hit Grieg directly in the head, many believe Rielly could miss significant time.

How Long Will Rielly’s Cross-Checking Suspension Be?

Rielly, who has never faced suspension in his 11-season NHL career, stands out as a key player for the Maple Leafs. Leading the team’s defensemen with seven goals and 43 points in 50 games, he recently participated in his first NHL All-Star Game in February. If he’s out for any lengthy period, it’s a huge loss for the Maple Leafs.

But, he will miss time. Even the controversial NHL DoPS, who often lacks consistency with their decisions, will see this as a suspendable offense.

The incident has ignited a lively debate about the boundaries of on-ice retaliation and the expectations surrounding player conduct in the heat of the game. As Rielly faces potential disciplinary action, there are going to be people on both sides of this one.

Next: Insiders Say Oilers Have Identified Their Top Trade Deadline Target

The post Controversial Cross-Check Likely to See Morgan Rielly Suspended appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

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