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Leafs' Morgan Rielly to appeal 5-game suspension


Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly will appeal a five-game suspension handed down by the NHL on Tuesday, TSN is reporting.

The longtime Leaf received the punishment after he cross-checked Ottawa Senators forward Ridly Greig Saturday night. Greig had just fired an uncontested slapshot into an empty net in the dying seconds of Ottawa's 5-3 win when Rielly delivered the high check.

In explaining the reasoning behind the suspension, the NHL’s department of safety said Tuesday that it appeared the sole purpose of the check was for “retribution.”

Rielly has never been suspended before during his more than 10 years with the Leafs.

Barring a successful appeal, Rielly won’t be available to the Leafs until at least Feb. 22 when they play the Las Vegas Golden Knights. 

Following Saturday night’s game, Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said Rielly’s check was “appropriate.”

“I think he’s reacting to a play. Their player has the right to do what he wants in that moment and our players have the right to react,” Keefe told reporters at the time.

Rielly was also ejected from the game with 5.1 seconds left on the clock.

The 29-year-old's suspension started Tuesday night and he was out of the lineup as the Maple Leafs routed the St. Louis Blues 4-1.

Speaking for the first time since the incident, Greig said that Rielly caught him off guard with the check.

“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 told reporters in Ottawa after Tuesday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Speaking about the slapshot itself, which some have descrbied as showboating against a rival team, Greig attributed the move to adrenaline.

"Just the heat of the moment. The heat of the game. The game was an emotional game. Just got a breakaway and thought I’d bury it,” he said. Top Stories

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