TSN's Darren Dreger
Photo credit: TSN

Insider says Leafs are livid with how Player Safety handled the Rielly suspension announcement

Published February 13, 2024 at 8:06 PM

Well, the verdict is in and Morgan Rielly will be sitting for the next 5 games, per the Department of Player Safety's official ruling on Tuesday, stemming from an incident that occurred over the weekend where Rielly cross-checked Sens forward Ridly Greig in the head after Greig's disrespectful showboating in a 5-3 Senators win.

Naturally, neither the Leafs nor Morgan Rielly are too pleased with the ruling, but they're even more upset with how the announcement was handled. According to TSN's Darren Dreger, the Leafs and Rielly found out at the same time as the rest of us - Kevin Weekes' official tweet.

Dreger reported ahead of tonight's game that the Leafs, Rielly and his representatives were rightfully upset with the news leaking out before he, his reps, or the Leafs had been informed of a suspension. There is protocol that is usually followed in these matters and, obviously, someone at the NHL's Department of Player Safety had let something leak out before the player was informed. That's a huge issue.

"Normally, the general manager is informed. The player is informed. The player representative is informed. That wasn't the case. It was predictable that it would be 5 or 6 games, when they called the virtual in-person [hearing]." - Dreger on the Leafs' obvious frustrations with how the announcement came out

The Department of Player Safety allowing this to leak out because it was the Leafs is just classic George Parros nonsense. For all of their preaching about due process, this certainly shows a huge lack of professionalism and I can't blame anyone in Toronto for being upset with how this whole thing was handled.

Rielly will have the ability to appeal the decision with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman if he chooses to do so, but there is no guarantee that the commissioner will consider reducing his suspension to something below 5 games. Also, as we've seen in the past, it can at times take some time to set up the appeal meeting, which results in the player missing most of the games anyway. It will he interesting to see how the Leafs and Morgan Rielly approach this one.
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