Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman
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Rielly breaks his silence about 5-game suspension, appeal process

Published February 21, 2024 at 4:41 PM

As we approach the 5th and final game of Morgan Rielly's suspension, the talented defenseman has finally opened up on the play that led to his 5-game ban, the appeal process, and everything in between.

It has been a roller coaster of emotions for Rielly, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the fanbase as the suspension process, as well as the subsequent appeal, took a very long time, and to top it all off, the Maple Leafs' brass was present in the meetings because they wanted to know how the Department of Player Safety came to their bizarre decision.

With the Leafs having gone 4-0-0 in his absence, Rielly is just anxious to get back into the lineup when they face off against the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday:

"Lots to be learned, grateful it's almost over," Rielly said following his team's skate as they were preparing to take on the Arizona Coyotes at Mullett Arena on Wednesday. "It's been an opportunity to grow and learn a little bit and we're almost over with it."

Rielly was honest and up front about his actions, confirming that they were of a retaliatory nature and that it was purely an emotional reaction to seeing Ridley Greig fire a slap-shot into an empty net at the end of a gutting defeat:

"I just wanted to address something and it obviously got away from me," Rielly said. "It was not intended to be executed the way that it was."

When Rielly entered the appeal process, he was firm on what he had done and wasn't trying to hide any information. He addressed things as they were and was hopeful that they could see his side of things:

"I didn't convince them of anything, so I guess so," Rielly said. "I was just honest about how the play went down and what I was thinking and what I was trying to do."

They didn't get the result they were looking for but Rielly was also extremely appreciative that his teammates and the organization had his back through it all. Auston Matthews reverberated what the entire locker room was feeling and they are all looking forward to the soon-to-be 30-year-old's return to the lineup:

"We're obviously a little bit disappointed but at the end it's out of our control," Auston Matthews said of the Rielly's failed appeal. "We're just going to keep fighting and keep battling for him. I know once he comes back tomorrow he's going to be ready to play."

Rielly has had a very good season to date as he has chipped in with 7 goals and 43 points in just 50 games, while averaging a career high 24:21 ATOI. Timothy Liljegren has done very well in Rielly's absence, but look for Rielly to retake his spot on the top unit alongside T.J. Brodie upon his return.

February 21   |   784 answers
Rielly breaks his silence about 5-game suspension, appeal process

Is Morgan Rielly a player that the Leafs can win with in the playoffs?

Yes, definitely54669.6 %
No, he's not good enough defensively10513.4 %
I hope so, but I'm not entirely sure13317 %
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