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George Parros hands Morgan Rielly a five game suspension

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Photo credit:© Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Mazzei
2 months ago
After days of anticipation, the DoPS has decided how long the Leafs will be without their top blueliner.
This five-game suspension resulted from an incident at the end of Saturday night’s loss to the Senators where Ridly Greig decided to fire a slapshot into the empty net. Morgan Rielly took exception to the act and threw a cross-check that ended up hitting Greig in the head, which almost instantaneously started a scrum.
Rielly was assessed a five-minute major penalty for cross-checking and a 10-minute misconduct for the act. He was offered an in-person hearing on Sunday which took place this afternoon over Zoom due to a major snowstorm that is currently hitting New York City.
The fallout for this punishment is obvious as the Leafs’ defence is going to be swiftly tested at a critical juncture of the season. While they historically have a winning record when Rielly is not in the lineup (including last season when he missed 17 games with a knee injury), this happens amid a tight playoff chase with them barely hanging on to a wild card spot heading into tonight’s game against the Blues. Combine this with Conor Timmins going on LTIR earlier due to suffering from mono, this upcoming stretch is almost certainly going to define the Leafs’ season.
You can expect to see the likes of Jake McCabe, Timothy Liljegren, and Simon Benoit among others get put into larger roles in the interim. Should they be able to tread water by the time Rielly is eligible to return on February 22 against the Golden Knights, it will do wonders on their playoff chances down the stretch.
This marks the Leafs’ first suspension since Michael Bunting laid an illegal check to the head on Erik Cernak in Game 1 of the 2023 playoffs that got him suspended for three games. It is also the longest suspension that has been given to a Leaf has been given since Jason Spezza got a six-game suspension for kneeing Neal Pionk back in 2021. That last one was later reduced to four games after an appeal with Gary Bettman, so the Leafs would have to talk directly with the commissioner if they hope to get Rielly back sooner.
Regardless of your stance on the incident in question, there was no denying that it was going to result in the 29-year-old getting supplemental discipline and now the Leafs are forced to be without their star blueliner for the next five games.
He has produced 43 points (seven goals and 36 assists) in 50 games before this suspension.

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