Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
NHL Notebook: Maple Leafs’ Morgan Rielly offered to have in-person hearing for cross check and Canucks’ Nikita Zadorov suspended for two games
14 days ago
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety has offered a hearing to Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly after a controversial hit Saturday night.
The in-person hearing option allows the league to suspend Rielly for six games or more, as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Freidman reported.
The incident occurred in the dying seconds of the third period of Saturday night’s game between the Ottawa Senators and Maple Leafs. With an empty Maple Leafs net, Senators forward Ridly Greig opted to take a slap shot to secure the Senators’ 5-3 win.
Rielly reacted to the play, skating towards Greig and cross-checking him in the head. Greig fell to the ice on impact, and the raining Senators on the ice went after Rielly , starting a small scrum. Rielly received a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
Throughout 11 seasons with Toronto, Rielly has never been suspended; if he received one following the hearing, it would be his first time being sidelined due to an incident on the ice.
Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe addressed the incident, backing the player for his actions.
“I thought (Rielly reaction) was appropriate,” Keefe told reporters. “He’s reacting to a play. Their player has the right to react in that moment, and our players have the right to react. That’s the emotion of the game.”
The 29-year-old blueliner has posted eight assists over the last several contests to contribute to his seven goals and 43 points in 50 games.
However, the Leafs are already down players in the lineup due to injuries, including defenceman Mark Giordano, who was announced as day-to-day after suffering a lower-body injury during Toronto’s 5-4 win over the Dallas Stars on Wednesday.
Giordano already missed 12 games in late November early December following a blocked shot on November 28th against the Florida Panthers.
If Rielly receives a suspension, it will most likely cause more issues for the Leafs, who sit fourth in the Atlantic Division with a record of 26-26-8.
Canucks’ Zadorov receives two game suspension
Vancouver Canucks defenceman Nikita Zadorov has received a two-game suspension following an illegal check on Detroit Red Wings forward Lucas Raymond on Saturday.
The play took place during the second period of Saturday night’s contest between the Red Wings and Canucks when Zadorov struck Raymond in the head with his elbow and shoulder moments after he gave up the puck. Despite falling to the ice and returning to his feet slowly, Raymond did return to finish the game and contribute to the Red Wings 4-3 overtime victory. Zadorov was handed a five-minute penalty for the play.
Since coming to Vancouver in a trade from the Calgary Flames in late November, Zadorov has yet to score a goal but has recorded four points while averaging almost 18 minutes of ice time a night.
The suspension will leave the Canucks with a gap on their left defensive side, which becomes troublesome with fellow defenceman Carson Soucy currently sidelined with a hand injury, which could potentially see him out until March.
Additionally, Zadorov will forfeit $39,062.50 to the league, with the money going towards the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
The Canucks are the top team in the Pacific Division, leading the league with 76 points and a record of 35-12-6. The Boston Bruins trail them by three points for second in the NHL. Meanwhile, the Las Vegas Golden Knights hold the second-place spot in the Pacific Division with 68 points.
On Tuesday, Vancouver will finish their road trip in Chicago to face off against the Blackhawks, who sit eighth in the Central Division with 31 points.
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