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Gary Bettman shares his thoughts on the Ridly Greig empty net goal

Published February 20, 2024 at 5:14 PM

Last week, the NHL Department of Player Safety announced that they had suspended Toronto Maple Leafs' defenseman, Morgan Reilly for five games for cross-checking Ottawa Senators' forward Ridly Greig in the head after a controversial empty net goal. The cross-check stemmed from Greig's decision to slap shot the puck into the empty net, something many felt was a breach of "The Code", which has since been a hotly contested topic.

The five game suspension to Rielly was significant, not only because of it's length, but because it prevented Rielly from appealing to an independent arbitrator. Instead, it left Rielly's only option being to appeal to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

Today Bettman rendered his decision and it was not in the Maple Leafs' favor. In his decision Bettman shared his thoughts on the empty net goal, that the Leafs believed was "disrespectful" and in an attempt to "embarrass" the franchise.

«In his ruling on the Morgan Rielly suspension appeal, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman makes it clear that Ridley Greig's slapshot into the empty net before Rielly's cross-check was ‘utterly irrelevant.' »

Bettman's comments go a long way to sharing the thought process of the NHL and their management. Previous regimes may have respected the league's code, while it's now clear where Bettman stands. In Bettman's mind the action of one player is no longer considered when weighing a potential punishment for a reaction.

This is the same mindset that was used when the league implemented an instigator rule which allowed the rats to run around the ice. Failing to respect the previous generations, or way the game was played has led to a game where head shots are more common and player's don't need to answer for their actions.
February 20   |   316 answers
Gary Bettman shares his thoughts on the Ridly Greig empty net goal

Do you respect "The Code"?

Yes, old school hockey was about respect18859.5 %
No,3210.1 %
Some of it yes, some of it is outdated9630.4 %
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