In a recent "Hockey Night in Canada" broadcast, hosts Jennifer Botterill and Kevin Bieksa sparked controversy with their takes on Morgan Rielly's cross-check on Ridly Greig. Rielly's high cross-check, which targeted Greig's neck and face, divided opinions among fans and analysts.
Bieksa expressed support for Rielly's intent, praising his display of emotion and defense of his teammate.
"I like the intent. I think the way that the game ended, it was unnecessary a little bit for Ridly Greig to do this. And I love his spunk, I love his gumption that he plays with, but that's a little bit showy. And Morgan (Morgan Rielly) comes over and how many times have Leaf fans said before, 'I wish we would see more emotion out of Morgan Rielly, out of Mitch Marner, out of Nylander?'
"Well, here's your emotion right here. Yeah, the cross check does get high and in the head. So it's like the Perron (David Perron) thing, who got six games. I like the intent going over and sticking up for what you think is fair, but obviously we try to keep those cross checks away from the head as much as possible. Jen?"
To which Jennifer Botterill replied,
"Well, right. I mean, I do feel like that's a classless move by Greig at that stage of the game. I feel like that was completely unnecessary. I didn't like that at all. I do like Rielly going over there. Unfortunately he needed to control his stick more because it ends up going right to the head, which is then dangerous."
Fans quickly reacted to Jennifer Botterill's remarks.
"The Maple Leaf bias here is unbelievable. What Reilly did was absolutely classless and needs to be out of the game. I don’t care for either team. You hate to see this in hockey."
Another fan criticized the panel's commentary.
"This says so much more about the panel than it does the play"
Jennifer Botterill criticizes Jamal Myers' take on Ryan Hartman's high-sticking incident
Former Canadian hockey women's star and analyst Jennifer Botterill criticized Sportsnet analyst Jamal Myers for his take on the Ryan Hartman and Cole Perfetti high-sticking incident.
The incident occurred after a play that injured the Minnesota Wild's Kirill Kaprizov, leading to cross-checks from the Winnipeg Jets' Brendan Dillon. Myers defended Hartman's actions, stating:
"To me, Ryan Hartman is sending a message that you're not going to go after our star player. And whether you like it or not, it becomes a question of how I'm going to defend myself, and it's not about fighting you."
Jennifer Botterill disagreed, emphasizing sportsmanship and questioning the message sent to young, talented players. She expressed concern about promoting aggression, stating,
"....Your skilled players just don't care if you're a young player coming up. Be ready, because this could happen to you at any point...."
NHL later fined Hartman $4,427.08, the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement.