Former Coaches Corner host Don Cherry
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Don Cherry breaks his silence, shares his opinion on the Morgan Rielly incident

Published February 14, 2024 at 11:31

I'm sure, by now, that everyone is patiently awaiting the time when we can stop talking about the Morgan Rielly suspension, which has dominated the headlines since Saturday night's infamous slapshot heard 'round the hockey world and Rielly's subsequent cross-check on the perpetrator, Ottawa's Ridly Greig.

There are plenty of opinions being shared both for and against Ridly Greig's slapshot, just as there are plenty of opinions being offered on whether Rielly was justified in taking the action that he did, providing what Sheldon Keefe called an "appropriate" response to the show-boating and disrespect displayed by Greig in a 5-3 win over the Leafs. One person that we hadn't heard from, however, was the legendary and always opinionated Don Cherry.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, Cherry sided with Sheldon Keefe and the Maple Leafs on this one, stating that he, too, felt that Rielly was justified in going after Greig following the disrespectful play and clear violation of one of hockey's many unwritten rules.

"I'm glad Rielly was on and I'm glad he did it. I know there's no rule in the book that says 'Don't do that' but you just don't do that. It was a spur of the moment thing that did. I think he meant to get him on the shoulder but he got him on the back of the neck." - Cherry on Rielly's reaction to Ridly Greig's empty-net clapper

Cherry, an old-school guy, knows all about hockey's code and the unwritten rules that players tend to follow. To hear him support Rielly's reaction, while also recognizing that Rielly wasn't targeting Greig's head, is certainly not a surprise. If Cherry can recognize that the stick ramped up the arm and shoulder of Greig, then others should be able to recognize that as well, including the Department of Player Safety's George Parros, who slapped Rielly with a 5-game suspension on Tuesday, despite the fact that the precedent had been set long before Rielly's cross-check on Greig.

We have yet to hear from Rielly following the incident, though I'm sure he'll speak at some point. I'd also fully expect that Rielly and the Leafs will appeal the ruling from Player Safety this week as well, though no announcement on that has been made official as of yet.
February 14   |   722 answers
Don Cherry breaks his silence, shares his opinion on the Morgan Rielly incident

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