You could sense the worry from every single Toronto Maple Leafs fan as soon as Jake Muzzin was seen struggling to get off the ice.
In the first period of Tuesday night’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals, forward Tom Wilson — no surprise there — laid a crunching hit on Muzzin in the corner after he got rid of the puck. Muzzin was then slow to get off the ice.
Sometimes when there's a hit that causes injury it's the last person you'd expect... other times it's the opposite. pic.twitter.com/aT8QUUVeMH— Yahoo Sports Canada (@YahooCASports) October 29, 2019
The 30-year-old defenceman was seen favouring his right leg on his way to the bench. He then headed to the dressing room after trying out his skating in between whistles.
The Maple Leafs quickly ruled him out for the remainder of the game.
Jake Muzzin will not return to tonight's game due to injury (leg). #LeafsForever— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) October 30, 2019
Entering Tuesday’s contest, Muzzin had three goals and nine points on the season.
Through the beginning of the season, it isn’t a controversial statement to say Muzzin has been the team’s best defender and overall contributor on the blue line.
The only silver lining is with Travis Dermott returning from his off-season injury on Tuesday, the Leafs have a solid top-four option that can take over some of Muzzin’s responsibility. For all those fans longing for the 22-year-old Dermott to have a bigger opportunity to make his mark, this might be it if Muzzin is out for any upcoming games.
Other corresponding lineup moves would mean Martin Marincin or Kevin Gravel returning to the regular blue line. The excitement pulses through Leafs Nation.
After the game, head coach Mike Babcock confirmed that Muzzin’s injury is not serious but doesn’t know the exact severity of the knock.
Luckily for the defenceman, the Leafs don’t play again until Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers. That should be enough time to determine if Muzzin will require extra attention and recovery time.
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