Gary Bettman upholds the entire Morgan Rielly suspension

Photo credit:Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Steitzer
1 month ago
As soon as Morgan Rielly was seen entering the offices with NHLPA lawyers it was probably a lock that Gary Bettman was going to dig his heels in and play hardball regarding Morgan Rielly’s five game suspension. Today, one game before the suspension is set to expire, Gary Bettman affirmed his support to the decision made by George Parros and the Rielly will serve all five games of his suspension.
The suspension has been a lightning rod for takes about the unwritten codes of hockey, what the intentions of both Rielly and Greig were in the incident, and the news cycle on this has lasted just as long as the suspension. And while I think many Leafs fans are happy to see a Leaf respond to a show of disrespect, there are still a significant number that agree this was always suspension worthy, albeit a bit shocked due to the inconsistent nature that discipline has been handed out involving crosschecks and headshots that are post whistle and removed from play. If this play didn’t involve a Leaf, I think Toronto fans would be agreeable about the length, but at the same time it does seem like Toronto players receive extra scrutiny on their transgressions. And even if you are not a fan of the Leafs I think it is fair to say that the Department of Player Safety has been inconsistent in their discipline over the years and has failed to deter players but rather just confuse everyone with their wheel of justice.
The NHLPA comparison section of Gary Bettman’s ruling:
As for the Maple Leafs, they’ve gone 4-0-0 without Rielly and have used his action as somewhat of a rallying cry after playing some disinterested hockey in the games leading up to the incident.
Matthew Knies:
“He kind of defended the respect of our team, and I think we’re playing really hard now. He’s a valuable piece to us, and we’re excited that he’s going to come back here soon. But I think we’re playing really good hockey, and I think (Rielly has) given us a jump.”
Rielly will miss the game tomorrow night in Arizona, but with games on back-to-back nights, the Leafs will welcome his fresh legs in what will be one of the tougher Western opponents in the Vegas Golden Knights.
As for any further avenues of appeal, Morgan Rielly’s suspension being set at 5 games limits the appeal process to Gary Bettman being the final word. Had it been a six game suspension, George Parros would have had to justify his decision in front of a neutral party and it is probably not a coincidence that he actively avoided that.
The cross check also costs Morgan Rielly $195,312.50. Hopefully his team will at least pick up his dinners for a while.

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