Despite likely repercussions, Morgan Rielly’s actions were justified

Nick Alberga
15 days ago
First thing’s first, Morgan Rielly deserves a lot of credit for standing up to Ridly Greig after that disrespectful garbage at the end of Saturday night’s tilt in Kanata. It was appropriate.
Having said that, maybe next time, he can avoid busting him right in the chops. Just a thought.
At any rate, the Leafs are staring down the barrel of another lousy loss to an inferior opponent, one that was playing their first game since January 31. Adding insult, on top of losing another very winnable game, it’s extremely likely that the Leafs will be missing their No. 1 defenceman – for at least Tuesday’s outing against St. Louis – due to suspension.
And so, the roller coaster season continues.
In the grand scheme of things, as mentioned, there’s no question Rielly did the right thing. In the heat of the moment, emotions can run high, which at times, leads to bad decisions. Case and point. As a team though, it’s important for Toronto to respond like that. Any way you slice it, there was no need for Greig, who has 58 games of NHL experience, to pull a stunt like that. Not sure he’ll be doing that again anytime soon.
It’s unfortunate that the next Battle of Ontario will not take place until next season —even though the Leafs were dominated by their provincial counterparts in 2023/24. Unbelievably, Toronto has just 32 games remaining on its regular season slate. At this point, it can go either way. Furthermore, Brad Treliving will have some tough decisions to make over the next few weeks with the March 8th trade deadline looming.
If Sheldon Keefe and company are looking for a rallying cry – perhaps one to kickstart a potential run – it’s this act of leadership from Rielly that could do the trick. Yeah, the outcome (a likely suspension) wasn’t ideal, but at least the 29-year-old showed some semblance of a response. Again, that’s something that has plagued this team in recent memory. Rielly didn’t appreciate what Greig did, and subsequently did something about it. That’s hockey sometimes.
Remember when Keith Tkachuk called the Florida Panthers out – prior to a game in Toronto – last season for being soft, and they went on an epic run after that? Well, now’s the time for the Leafs to seize the moment and put their big boy pants on —even if they’ll have to do so without the services of their best blue liner.

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