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NHL commissioner Gary Bettman upholds Morgan Rielly's five-game suspension

NEW YORK — NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has upheldMorgan Rielly's five-game suspension for cross-checking after the NHL Players' Association filed for an appeal.

The league's department of player safety banned the Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman last week for his cross-check to the head of Senators forward Ridly Greig in the dying moments of Ottawa's 5-3 victory on Feb. 10.

Rielly, who was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct, lunged at Greig up high after the centre fired a slapshot into an empty net from close range with 5.1 seconds left in regulation. Greig wasn't injured on the play.

Bettman's ruling on the appeal is final. Players only have the right to a subsequent appeal to an independent arbitrator on suspensions of six or more games.

The Maple Leafs have gone a perfect 4-0-0 with Rielly out of the lineup, earning wins against St. Louis (twice), Philadelphia and Anaheim.

The 29-year-old will be eligible to return to the lineup when the Leafsvisit the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2024.

The Canadian Press