A Good Take From TSN On Rielly’s Head-Shot


Finally, some rational thought on the Leafs’ Morgan Rielly taking a stick to the Senators’ Ridly Greig’s head.

Perhaps one should not be astonished at the knuckle-draggers who thought the attack was a good idea … mostly from Toronto … but I’m surprised at the one-sided nature of the debate about a two-hander to the head and the stupid rationalizations:

Button: ‘A cross-check to the head can never be defended under any circumstances’


Rielly Hit: Bring The Law Into The Rink

Sens Want To Win? Play Defence

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7 Responses

  1. sisco.farraro says:

    It will be interesting to find out what punishment Morgan Rielly will face later today. I do have one question though. Had the shoe been on the other foot and the player dishing out the cheap shot been a Senator and the receiver been a Maple Leaf, would this story have even appeared in this forum?

  2. Ken Gray says:

    sisco … I hope so … cheers kgray

  3. Merrill Smith says:

    As a Habs fan, when I saw the hit I thought Brendan Gallagher got 5 games, well deserved, for a similar hit. I didn’t expect a Leaf to get that much, but I think the call was correct.

  4. Ron Benn says:

    An idiom that comes to mind is “when it stings, it sticks”. Roughly translated, pain is a motivator to change behaviour.

    Based on recent observation, Gallagher’s 5 game suspension (per Merrill Smith) and Detroit’s Perron’s 6 game suspension from earlier this season, when he cross checked Zub in the head several times, it is apparent that the sting is not felt vicariously. Reilly did not “feel” the sting of the suspensions to Gallagher and Perron, thus he did not learn the lesson. Perhaps Reilly, and maybe his teammates, if the Leafs lose too many of those 5 games Reilly sits out, may learn from this. Cross checks to the head of an opponent are unacceptable. They are unacceptable in the heat of the moment (see Perron’s excuse). They are unacceptable a few seconds after feeling “dissed” by the exuberant manner in which an opponent puts the puck in an empty net.

    Only time will tell.

  5. Ken Gray says:


    Your wisdom shows through again and this city is better for it.

    But I agree with you but I would take it farther. The NHL has proven repeatedly that it cannot control violence in the game.

    If a citizen did what these hockey perpetrators did on the street, they’d be standing in front of a judge.

    And if the NHL can’t control violence in its game (and it has not), maybe it is time for society’s laws be put into action. Not just with the players but with the owners, coaches, managers and the league itself.

    The NHL and the hockey rink are not places that are above the law. And the code is outdated and stupid.

    If people break the law, they should be investigated and if the Crown believes there’s a case, they should be put in front of judge.

    It’s sport … not a war. You can play sports without this level of violence.

    Nobody wants to see people maimed.



  6. MM says:

    It’s not that the NHL can’t control violence, it is that they willfully ignore it. Then hand out token 5 game suspensions etc. Why do referees stand by at the beginning of a fight? Why are they not trying to break it up immediately?

    It you want to see how low the NHL has sunk, watch any U11, U15 etc online videos of kids hockey to see the violence. There is fighting at U11 games? Where do they learn this from? Why, their “heroes?” in the NHL, of course. The kids see that fighting is allowed, so they think its ok.

    The videos speak to a wider problem the NHL has to own.

  7. Ron Benn says:

    MM, the powers that be in the NHL (Commissioner Bettman and his team of executives, and the team owners) are well aware of the factors that they need to manage to optimize their business.

    They understand that they are in the sports subset of the entertainment industry. They are competing directly with the NBA and NCAA basketball for television viewers and the related advertising, sponsorship dollars. For local market ticket purchasers. First and foremost suite holders, followed closely by season ticket purchasers, and finally game day ticket purchaser. To a lesser extent, due to the limited overlap in seasons, they also compete with the NFL and MLB.

    The NHL powers that be recognize that the inherent violence in an NHL game is a differentiating factor, relative to their competition (see above). Rodney Dangerfield’s quip to the effect of “I went to the fights the other night, and a hockey game broke out” speaks volumes about times gone by.

    On the other hand, the NHL is mindful of how they are perceived by “governments” and to a lesser extent social media influencers. They need to demonstrate to these stakeholders that they take head injuries seriously. Or at least more seriously than before. Thus the effort to control bench clearing brawls. To limit the number of donnybrooks. But fighting? No. There are too many fans who love to see two guys squaring off. Just look at the order of highlights on the various sports broadcasts.

    It is curious that there are elements of those who would regulate that want to see an end to fighting in hockey, whilst ignoring MMA and UFC events. Events that involve trying to beat the opponent to the point of unconsciousness.

    To pull the pieces together, the NHL is in the business of entertaining its fans. It recognizes that enough fans want to see the “controlled” violence of the game. Violence that includes hard, open ice body checks, finishing a check into the boards, and an occasional fight. The league also recognizes that it needs to toss a virtue signal or three to the medical profession and politicians, to show that they are holding players to account for particularly egregious acts of violence, such as that of Mr. Reilly when his anger management training didn’t kick in in time.

    Next up, inconsistency. Reilly gets a five game suspension for a deliberate head shot on Greig. Yet Boston goalie Ullmark gets a $5,000 fine for a “heat of the moment” deliberate downward chop with his goalie stick to the head of Tampa Bay’s Eyssimont. Not even a penalty call on the play! Mind numbing. Absolutely mind numbing.

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