Morgan Rielly’s cross-check to the face of Ottawa Senator Ridly Greig has been the talk of the NHL these last couple of days.
The incident occurred late in the game between the Maple Leafs and the Senators this weekend after Greig took a slapshot into the empty net to win it for the Senators.
Many thought that Greig broke an unwritten NHL code by showboating against their opponents, rubbing salt into the Leafs’ wound and that Rielly had every right to react.
Many, however, thought that it was an unnecessary act of violence and that he deserves the suspension—as it’s an in-person hearing, it’s probably six games or more—that’s coming to him.
But Don Cherry is not one of them.
The former NHL coach said on his podcast that he’s glad Rielly acted like he did.
“I am glad Rielly was on and I’m glad he did it,” said Cherry. “I know there is no rule in the book that says you don’t do that but you just don’t do that.”
Cherry also believes it wasn’t Rielly’s intent to make contact with the head but his shoulder.
”It was a spur of the moment thing that he did. I think he meant to get him on the shoulder, but he got him on the back of the neck.”
Cherry also had a theory on why Grieg did what he did, which was to annoy those many Maple Leafs fans in the building in Ottawa.
“I think the reason he did is because the Leaf fans were going ‘Go Leafs Go’ (in Ottawa) and that’s why he did it.”
Don Cherry believes, in contrary to what many other pundits say, that Rielly will only be given a two-game suspension.