‘We stand behind him’: Senators’ Stutzle defends Greig after empty-net slapshot

Senators' Tim Stutzle says it's not really their business to talk about the Ridly Greig, Morgan Rielly incident from Saturday night, it's the league's decision, but they stand behind Greig, and this definitely adds fire to their rival vs. Toronto.

Ottawa Senators forward Tim Stutzle has backed teammate Ridly Greig, who reignited the Battle of Ontario against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

Greig fired a slapshot into an empty net with six seconds remaining to seal a 5-3 victory over the visiting Maple Leafs in Ottawa. Toronto defenceman Morgan Rielly took exception to Greig’s clapper and cross-checked the Ottawa forward in the head.

Rielly, who received a major penalty and a game misconduct, is facing additional punishment with an in-person meeting scheduled Tuesday with the NHL Department of Player Safety.

“I know it’s the league deciding what’s going on,” Stützle said following Monday’s morning skate. “We as a group, we stand behind him. Obviously, that’s all I want to say about it.”

Stützle said “100 per cent” the Senators want to perform well in their own building when there is a noticeable crowd of fans supporting the opposing team on hand at Canadian Tire Centre.

“It was a lot [Saturday] night and obviously we want to come out and win,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter who we play. It doesn’t matter how many fans from the other team are there, we always want to win, but that especially gives us a little more fire.” 

Interim head coach Jacques Martin, who also coached the Senators during the dawn of the Battle of Ontario rivalry, chuckled when asked if he was surprised by the attention the incident has drawn.

“I think it’s just a situation,” said Martin, who returned behind the bench after D.J. Smith was fired Dec. 18. “Ottawa-Toronto is a rivalry and brings attention to people.”

Fans will have to wait a while until the rematch though as Saturday’s game was the final meeting between the two teams during the regular season.

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