TORONTO — Maple Leafs captain John Tavares was released from hospital with a concussion Friday after being hurt in a scary incident during Game 1 of the North Division first-round playoff series between Toronto and the Montreal Canadiens.
Tavares was taken off the ice on a stretcher in the first period of Thursday night’s game after he collided with Montreal’s Ben Chiarot and was hit in the head by the knee of the onrushing Corey Perry as he fell to the ice.
Here’s a look at some of the reaction to the incident from the Maple Leafs, Canadiens and teams in the league.
“A very scary moment. John’s a good friend that everybody was very concerned about. Happy to know that everything’s looking on the ups, but definitely a moment where you know your mind races a little bit. You think about his family and then having to watch that. Just seeing your buddy on the ice like that is scary moment.”
— Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jason Spezza.
“We’ve got to focus on winning hockey games here. It’s a big boost, knowing that he’s doing well.”
— Toronto Maple Leafs forward Alex Kerfoot
“Honestly for me I didn’t really love it last night how that all played out. It was scary for everybody. Everybody that was in the building, everybody that was on the ice. You never want to see that.
“I’ve seen a lot of things in this game. That whole scenario was no fun to be a part of. And to follow it up with that (the fight), I didn’t love it but maybe it felt like that’s what they needed to do to get over it and to get it out of the way.
“But I don’t think, seeing the replay and watching it and seeing that hit, it couldn’t be any more freak. And this game is so fast. it’s so intense and so fast. Things are happening a million miles an hour.”
— Montreal Canadiens forward Eric Staal on the hit, and the ensuing fight between Perry and Leafs forward Nick Foligno.
“Huge relief. It was hard to watch last night, honestly. Such a great player, you never want to see that part of the game. It just kind of killed the mood in the rink. It took a little while to get going and I think everyone felt the same way.
“I’m really glad to hear he’s OK. I hope him and his family are doing well. I can imagine how hard it would be for his wife and his kids to be watching on TV. So I wish him the best in his recovery and hope he’s back on the ice soon. He’s a great hockey player.”
— Montreal Canadiens forward Paul Byron on hearing Tavares was released from hospital.
“I pretty much turned away from the TV when it happened. It was ugly.”
— Winnipeg Jets forward Mathieu Perreault.
“It just stops everything, right, when you see something that dangerous, the hit to the head. There’s a really, really healthy competition and animosity between teams in the playoffs that gets built very, very fast and something like that just ends it right? Both of those teams, the Canadiens, are going through the same set of emotions in a lot of ways even though its an opponent. They just hope he’s fine.
“Great news today that things are good and he’s on the right path back, but that kind of stops the game. The perspective of the game changes pretty darn quick.”
— Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice.
“It’s obviously a very scary incident and it’s a humbling reminder that this game is fast and things can go wrong out there. We’re obviously all trying to play hard and trying to compete for what something everyone’s dreamed of doing and that’s winning the Cup.
“They’re still players out there, still humans out there and guys have families and it’s a lot more than that. Scary to see and you just hope he’s doing OK.”
— Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid.
“It’s never easy to see that. I’m sure they’re very concerned about the injury, the severity of the injury. That was an accident. It’s one of those things you hate to see happen, but unfortunately does on occasion. You just hope the players is all right.
“Especially, Tavares means a lot to that team. He’s their team captain. He’s got a lot of support in there. That team, that would shake them a little bit, but in the playoffs, you’ve got to get by that and get going again.
“Tough to see that. Tough to see a player get hurt like that. Hopefully he’s all right. It does affect your team a little bit. You’ve got to find a way to get by that and get going.”
— Edmonton Oilers coach Dave Tippett.
“It was such a split-second thing. There was no way (Perry) could have gotten out of the way. You could see that he was distraught.”
— Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand.