Maple Leafs captain John Tavares was taken off the ice on a stretcher after suffering a frightening-looking injury in his team’s Stanley Cup playoff game against the Canadiens on Thursday.
Montreal’s Corey Perry skated into Tavares just after Tavares was checked to the ice by defenseman Ben Chiarot. Perry’s knee made contact with Tavares’ head. The contact appeared to be accidental.
Tavares was immediately attended to by the Leafs’ training staff. It appeared as if he was unable to control his body movements.
Tavares was placed on a stretcher as his teammates gathered around him for support and Canadiens players watched with concern. Perry came over to him in a gesture of sportsmanship. Tavares gave a thumbs-up as he left the ice.
The Maple Leafs and Canadiens showed their support for John Tavares after a scary collision in Toronto.
Tavares gave the thumbs up as he was being stretchered off. pic.twitter.com/1OpiVLXmOu
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 21, 2021
Tavares was taken to a hospital for further examination. Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe told reporters after the game that Tavares would remain there overnight to undergo more testing.
Keefe said (per David Alter of The Hockey News) that Tavares was “conscious and communicating well” and preliminary tests had come back “clear.” Keefe also said the injury was “probably the most uncomfortable situation that I’ve been a part of on the ice” given that it occurred in an empty arena.
Tavares, 30, was third on the North Division champion Leafs with 50 points during the regular season (19 goals, 31 assists).
The Canadiens and many others in the hockey world expressed hope that Tavares would be OK.
Nous sommes troublés par le terrible accident impliquant John Tavares et lui envoyons nos meilleures pensées.
We’d like to express our concern for John Tavares and are sending him our best wishes for a speedy recovery.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) May 21, 2021
91 🙏🏻 💙
— Doug Gilmour (@douggilmour) May 21, 2021
At this point I just hope Tavares is medically okay. That’s a “the game comes secondary” level injury. One of the scariest I’ve ever seen for a Leafs player.
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) May 21, 2021
Sending our thoughts and best wishes to John Tavares, who was stretchered off tonight’s Leafs-Canadiens game after taking a knee to the head. pic.twitter.com/F2I2uwJJnz
— Islanders Videos (@SNY_Islanders) May 21, 2021
Please be OK, John Tavares.
— John Lu (@JohnLuTSNMtl) May 21, 2021
I have no idea what to say other than I hope Tavares is ok. That was frightening.
— Jeff Marek (@JeffMarek) May 21, 2021