It was a scary scene at the Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday afternoon when Maple Leafs defender Jake Muzzin was stretched late in the third period.
With Toronto on the penalty kill, Pierre-Luc Dubois of the Blue Jackets checked Muzzin from behind when he was about to go behind his own net.
Muzzin went down the planks on one knee while playing the puck and trying to get up he seemed to hit a rut with the front of his skate and clumsily fell into the leg of Columbus’ Oliver Bjorkstrand.
The veteran’s head and neck appeared to have been impacted, causing the stretcher to come out; he was seen opening and closing his hands and moving his legs after the incident and head coach Sheldon Keefe said he was “responsive” in the hospital.
“Seeing a man like Jake that everyone cares about, he is very much loved in the dressing room,” said lesser Frederik Andersen. “Be as tough as [he is], it is really hard to see that he is told to lie down and not move … we just think about him and make sure all the right steps are taken and hopefully recover quickly. “
“He’s a big part for this team: penalty kill, even power against the best players, against the other team,” added Mitch Marner, who was on the ice when Muzzin was injured. “He really means a lot to us, so, you know, being a little bit beside him when he went down, stay a little worried downstairs, of course.”
Without fans, it was incredibly quiet in the arena as both teams watched with concern. While Muzzin was being stretched, both teams are tapping their sticks.
“When you see one of your teammates go down, especially a man like Muzz, you know what type of warrior he is. I think what he brings to our team is immeasurable, ”said captain John Tavares. “Obviously very cool. All the signs were very positive around him and nice to finish it off for him, but certainly hard to see, especially how much we love that man. “
The injury came in just under two minutes into the Maple Leafs 3-0 win over Columbus, ending the qualifying round at 1 PM. Game 3 is on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET.
Should he recover this postseason, Muzzin should be quarantined before returning to the NHL bubble. It is unclear how long that process will take.
As for Jake Muzzin leaving the NHL bubble to go to the hospital, I have been told that medical officials will call how long he should be quarantined if and when he is ready to return. It depends on where he goes, how long he is gone and how much risk he is at.
– Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) August 4, 2020