Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares was discharged from the hospital Friday morning after suffering a concussion in a scary collision during Thursday night's playoff game against the Montreal Canadiens.
The Maple Leafs said Tavares was "thoroughly examined and assessed" by the St. Michael's Hospital neurosurgical team and the team's medical director. He was "conscious and communicating well" overnight. Tavares is back at home resting under the care and supervision of Toronto team doctors.
Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe confirmed that Tavares suffered a concussion. Tavares will be out of the lineup indefinitely.
Tavares tweeted a message of thanks for all the support, writing that he will "look forward to when I can wear the Maple Leaf on my chest again."
The injury occurred in the first period of Game 1 of the first-round series, a 2-1 Canadiens win. Tavares fell to the ice after a hit by Montreal defenseman Ben Chiarot. As Tavares was falling, he was clipped in the head by a diving Corey Perry. Tavares left the game on a stretcher, giving a thumbs-up as he was taken off the ice.
Maple Leafs center Jason Spezza said he stayed close to Tavares while he was down on the ice and kept talking to help keep him responsive.
"I just tried to keep him calm," Spezza said.
Spezza said he was able to speak with Tavares later Friday night from the hospital. Although Tavares wasn't responding to much, the captain told Spezza that he recognized his voice while he was on the stretcher.
"John is a good friend," Spezza said. "Definitely a moment where your mind races a little bit. You think about his family."
According to teammates, Tavares sent a text to Maple Leafs players Friday night to say he was OK.
Several Montreal players, including Perry, also went over to wish Tavares well before he was stretchered off.
"I was pretty disheartened to see that happen to such a good guy," Canadiens goalie Carey Price said. "It's a sobering reminder that hockey is just a game."
Perry, who has played with Tavares on Team Canada in international competitions, said he tried to jump over Tavares but his knee inadvertently struck Tavares' head.
"I don't know what else to do there," Perry said. "I tried to jump. I know Johnny pretty well, and I just hope he's OK. ... I honestly felt sick to my stomach when I saw it. When I saw him, with the way he is, it's a scary situation. I'll reach out to him and talk to him, and hopefully he's OK."
Maple Leafs forward Nick Foligno engaged in a fight with Perry shortly after the game resumed.
Keefe said the incident left his players "rattled and concerned."
"I've experienced a lot of different things, a lot of tough injuries like that in my time,'' Keefe said. "In an empty building like that, it's probably the most uncomfortable situation I've been a part of on the ice. It was really tough to get through."
Game 2 is Saturday in Toronto.