Ilya Lyubushkin was injured in the second period of last nights game
Photo credit: MSN

Sheldon Keefe condemns the hit that injured Lyubushkin, provides an update on the defenseman

Published March 3, 2024 at 10:16

The Toronto Maple Leafs re-acquired ex-Leaf Ilya Lyubushkin on Thursday night following their win against the Arizona Coyotes. Lyubushkin wasted absolutely no time in getting to Toronto in time for the team's game against the Rangers on Saturday, immediately rejoining Morgan Rielly on the Leafs' top defensive pair, and despite not having played together in a few seasons, they actually looked better than expected last night. However, his return to the Leafs did not go as planned.

Late in the second period, Rangers rookie Matt Rempe took a run at Lyubushkin, delivering a thunderous hit in the corner which many believe, including Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe, should've been a charging penalty. To top it all off, Rempe lept off of his feet on the hit and made direct contact with Lyubushkin's head. Following the game, Keefe shared an update on his newly acquired right-shot defenseman and revealed what he thought of the hit.

"He didn't finish the game. He has a head injury. We will have to get him figured out. [Rempe] comes a long way, leaves his feet, and hits him in the head. Injury."

Keefe's post-game comments seemed almost like he was attempting to flag the hit for the NHL's Department of Player Safety, who slammed down the ban hammer on Morgan Rielly, slapping him with a 5-game suspension despite the veteran defenseman having an exemplary record prior to the cross-check on Ridly Greig. Rempe's hit being much, much worse, I think Keefe is anticipating a suspension to Rempe that exceeds the 5-game suspension that Rielly received, which did not result in an injury to Greig.

The injury to Giordano Thursday night almost seemed to expedite the Leafs' search for a defenseman, and now that Lyubushkin is injured, it may force GM Brad Treliving to acquire yet another blueliner in short order. The extent of Lyubushkin's injury is still unknown, but according to Ilya Samsonov, Lyubushkin appears to be feeling better already.

"I asked him after the game," Samsonov relayed. "Yeah, he's a little bit hurt. But I think he's good. He's good right now, and he'll have time for recovery a little bit."

The Leafs don't have much time between games as they take to the ice again on Monday when they host the Boston Bruins. I'd imagine Lyubushkin will miss at least that game, but if it's a concussion, he'll likely be out even longer.

March 3   |   976 answers
Sheldon Keefe condemns the hit that injured Lyubushkin, provides an update on the defenseman

Should a penalty have been called on Rempe for the hit that injured Lyubushkin?

Yes95698 %
No202 %
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