The NHL’s player safety department announced Sunday that it has offered Rielly an in-person hearing (possible suspension of six games or more) for cross-checking Senators forward Ridly Greig in the head after he had scored. The hearing will be held on Tuesday afternoon at the NHL’s office in New York.
Greig had put the finishing touch on a 5-3 victory in the Battle of Ontario with an empty net goal in the final seconds, but he fired the puck in with a close-in slap shot, a violation of NHL players’ unwritten code.
Rielly took exception to how the goal was scored and followed Greig as he skated back to teammates to celebrate, then cross-checked him up high. Greig went down to the ice and stayed down as a scrum started, but he eventually got up.
The on-ice officials handed Rielly a cross-checking major and it was upheld on review. He also received a game misconduct.
Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said he thought Rielly’s reaction was appropriate.
“I think he’s reacting to a play,” Keefe told reporters. “Their player has a right to do what he wants in that moment, and our players have a right to react. That’s the emotions of the game.”
Senators coach Jacques Martin said Rielly’s hit was “not a hockey play.” Asked about the way Greig scored the goal, he said, “He put the puck in the net. Whether he pushes it or he shoots it, that shouldn’t matter.”
The player safety department suspended the Detroit Red Wings’ David Perron for six games earlier this season for a cross-check to the head during a game against the Senators. Perron was reacting to an injury to his captain, Dylan Larkin.
NHL player safety was already busy this weekend, suspending Vancouver Canucks defenseman Nikita Zadorov for two games on Saturday for an illegal check to the head of Red Wings forward Lucas Raymond. The Canucks play Sunday afternoon, so the hearing was held hours after Saturday’s game. Zadorov will forfeit more than $39,000 in pay.
First appeared on www.usatoday.com