Possible major twist in Morgan Rielly's suspension

Would this surprise you?



By now, you've surely seen the controversial actions taken by Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly on Saturday night, who took extreme exception to an empty-net snapshot taken by Ottawa Senators forward Ridly Greig. Rielly immediately responded with a crosscheck right to Greig's chops, setting off a melee on the ice at Canadian Tire Centre. 

Rielly was suspended for five games for his actions, though the Leafs have clearly not missed his presence on the blue line as they've gone 2-0 without him. However, Rielly has seen fit to appeal to have his suspension length reduced, which is an extreme rarity. 

However, there is president in this vein, as evidenced by former Maple Leafs forward Jason Spezza's case. 

An excerpt from Chris Johnston's column in The Athletic: 

"Typically, the commissioner takes anywhere from one to three days after an appeals hearing to render a decision, and Rielly is due to serve his third game Saturday when the Leafs host Anaheim and his fourth on Monday afternoon when they visit St. Louis.

The best-case scenario for a 29-year-old with a squeaky clean track record, according to a source involved in the process, would be seeing Bettman knock one game off the penalty handed out by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety in time for Rielly to rejoin the Leafs lineup on Wednesday in Arizona.

There is some precedent to lean on.

Like Rielly, former Maple Leafs forward Jason Spezza acted completely out of character when he kneed Neal Pionk of the Winnipeg Jets in the head in December 2021. After initially being assessed a six-game suspension, Bettman reduced that punishment to four games in large part because of Spezza’s lengthy body of work before the transgression." 

"And with the Leafs involved in a tight playoff race and Rielly forfeiting more than $39,000 in pay for each game missed during the suspension, even the faint possibility of getting one back made it more than worth the trouble."

Does Rielly deserve to have his suspension reduced? 

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Source: The Athletic