In a scary incident Tuesday late in the third period of Game 2 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets, defender Jake Muzzin was taken off of the ice on a stretcher after an unfortunate collision to his head.
Muzzin was originally knocked off balance behind the Maple Leafs net courtesy of a cross check by Blue Jackets-forward Pierre-Luc Dubois. As he was falling, his head made a clear collision with Oliver Bjorkstrand’s knee.
The collision with Bjorkstrand’s knee was clearly an accidental incident that led to Muzzin being attended to on the ice by medical professionals for minutes on end.
Muzzin was eventually taken off of the ice on a stretcher, but both the Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets benches both seemed visibly rattled by the situation.
In a game like hockey, injuries like this are hard to watch. It’s easy to imagine so many other plays going wrong in similar fashion but when something like this actually takes place, everything gets put into perspective. Players know the risk that comes with playing the game, but the hope is that certain rules and etiquette can mitigate these incidents from ever occurring.
Still, freak accidents do happen.
It’s also why both the Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets would show their support for Muzzin when he was taken off of the ice. Rivalries exist and the playoff atmosphere brings out the most physical side of teams. Still, every player in the NHL is part of the same community and they all know that terrible things like this could happen at any time. Keeping each other safe is of the utmost importance.
Maple Leafs Win but Still Suffer Major Loss
The Maple Leafs would end up winning the game by a score of 3-0 to tie the series at one win apiece. It was a huge win for the Maple Leafs who needed to step up and avoid going down two games to zero in a best-of-five series. With the series tied, the Maple Leafs will now look to regroup and hope for the best in regards to Muzzin who has averaged over 21 minutes of ice time during his tenure in Toronto and over 20 minutes per game in the postseason.
in 53 games with the Maple Leafs this season, Muzzin would score six goals and 23 points. He was also skating on the team’s top-pairing alongside Justin Holl.
Any missed time for Muzzin will be a significant loss for the Maple Leafs, especially on a team who’s biggest weakness actually comes on their back-end.
Still, the Maple Leafs are going to have to push forward and figure things out in the meantime. Muzzin’s long-term health is the most important thing here and will be at the forefront of the discussion until his condition is known.
For now, all the hockey world can do is wait. Maple Leafs’ captain John Tavares would indicate that “all signs are very positive” after the game ended, though.
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for seven years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.