Toronto Maple Leafs Head Coach Sheldon Keefe speaks at a press conference.
Photo credit: The Leafs Nation

Sheldon Keefe Supports Morgan Rielly's Vicious Cross-Check in Battle of Ontario

Published February 11, 2024 at 11:23
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Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe agreed with Morgan Rielly, his star, who delivered a cross-check to the head of Ottawa Senators player Ridly Greig with just 5.1 seconds left in Saturday's game.

Greig had just zipped into the Maple Leafs' zone and slammed a slapshot into an empty net, sealing Ottawa's 5-3 victory.

Naturally, Rielly didn't take too kindly to the emphatic goal, sparking a heated scrum near the teams' benches.

Keefe's Perspective: Justified Reaction or Overreaction?

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Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe weighed in on Rielly's decision, saying,

I thought it was appropriate.» I'm sure they'll look at it, yeah.

So did Sportsnet.

Morgan Rielly did the right thing.

Next time someone tells you that Sportsnet isn't a Leafs home broadcast, remember that Morgan Reilly just gave a leaping crosscheck to the head with no time left in a game, and the broadcast is criticizing a Ridly Greig slap shot on an empty net.

Keefe sent out enforcer Ryan Reaves for the final faceoff, but the officials quickly intervened to prevent a full-blown brawl.

He was reacting to a play," Keefe explained. "Their player has the right to do what he wants in that moment. And our players have the right to react. And it's the emotions of the game.

However, Ottawa coach Jacques Martin saw things differently, stating,

He put the puck in the net. Whether he shoots it or pushes it, [Rielly's reaction], that shouldn't happen.

And amidst all the drama, Shane Pinto shone for the Senators with a goal and two assists, helping his team secure their third consecutive win.

Quite the night of action in Canada's capital, eh?
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