Breaking down the Ridly Greig and Morgan Rielly circus

Photo credit:Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Steitzer
5 months ago
For 59 minutes and 54 seconds the Leafs showed little interest in what the Senators were doing and for that Leafs fans can probably thank Ridly Greig for bringing them back to life before their next game. If you haven’t been completely bombarded with incident and are coming at this with fresh eyes, here’s the clip of what happened below:
It could have ended there but of course; in the age of social media this needs to be heavily debated and will continue to dominate the news cycle until we get our first look at Taylor Swift at the Super Bowl and all will be forgotten. Since we have a few hours to kill, I’m going to weigh-in with my interpretation of events, which are likely the correct opinion 🙂
First off, let’s look at this from the Senators and Ridly Greig’s perspective to start. The Leafs were applying pressure in a 4-3 game and the Senators, the underdogs and being cheered against in their own arena were thrilled to be putting a dagger in the Leafs chances. Greig heading in a lone and hammering the puck into the net was absolutely that dagger and they had reason to be excited. This is as good as it gets for the Sens this season. No blame here. Was it disrespectful? Absolutely, but hockey needs more disrespectful moments.
Where the criticism of this begins is where Ridly Greig felt he wouldn’t have anyone to answer to for that move, and to be fair, historically the Leafs would have just taken that without a response. Rielly responding and Greig turtling certainly takes away from what he was trying to achieve. Watching Greig curled up on the ice was a sight to behold and while no one should be claiming that crosscheck didn’t hurt, his unwillingness to respond for his action in the first place or after the crosscheck took away from his initial action.
From the Rielly side of things, count me in with the neanderthals who think you can’t let something like that go without a response. Was a crosscheck the right response? Probably not and he’ll likely be suspended for it but given how rare it is to see that level of emotion out of the Leafs, this is probably a net positive for Toronto. Those are the types of plays 9 times out of 10 we’d be talking about getting out of the game and while we are calling for Greig’s head in the moment, the inclusion of Rielly’s stick in what could have been a perfectly fine strong shove is the issue.
The Senators response is equal parts funny and embarrassing. The tweet will absolutely have its desired effect and bait Leafs fans for the rest of the day and look like a rallying cry to Senators fans, but at the same time this really is it for them. There is no better moment coming for the Senators this season and beating the Leafs and having a player add a spark back into the Battle of Ontario is as good as it gets. It’s a bummer that there won’t be another game against these two teams this season but hopefully this leads to more intense matchups next season. The Leafs need that intensity.
The fallout out is that the Leafs already weak defence is going to be playing a couple of games without their 24 minute a night 1D, and if that doesn’t make the case to Brad Treliving that he needs to add to the blueline fast, I don’t know what will. Maybe Rielly will return from his suspension with a new partner.
The final seconds of the game also did a great jump of masking what a poor effort the Leafs had Saturday night before Morgan Rielly’s crosscheck. Korpisalo didn’t look good, and the Leafs offence didn’t take advantage of that. Their defence left Martin Jones to fend for himself and on most nights, Martin Jones won’t be able to fend for himself.
Hopefully Rielly looking like he cares leads to other Leafs caring more as well.

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