Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Timothy Liljegren was injured after crashing into the boards following unpenalized contact with Boston Bruins captain Brad Marchand.

The hit came just 49 seconds into Thursday’s game in Boston. Both players were pursuing a loose puck deep in the Toronto zone. Liljegren steps in front of Marchand, initiating contact, before falling awkwardly to the ice and hitting the boards skates first.

No penalty was called on the play by referee Wes McCauley, who stood nearby. 

Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe, incensed by the non-call, unloaded on the veteran official. While the two have had memorable run-ins before, this time Keefe avoided a penalty or ejection… and likely a fine.

“He didn’t see the stick go in between his legs and ‘can-opener’ him to make him go feet first into the boards in the most dangerous area of the ice,” said Keefe said. “He didn’t see it.”

Liljegren was helped off the ice and did not return; he is expected to miss ‘significant time’, per Keefe.


While replays showed Marchand’s stick under Liljegren’s skates, it’s unclear if that’s the cause – or the effect.  When Liljegren moves in front of Marchand, he initiates contact, presumably to deliver a hit into the boards. You can clearly see Marchand’s knee pushed back by Liljegren’s knee on the initial bump, which appears to throw the Boston forward off-balance. 

It’s an unfortunate collision that resulted in a terrible injury to the Toronto blueliner.  It’s not, however, a slewfoot – as much as Marchand may be well-versed in delivering them. While it could have been called a trip, it can also be seen as incidental contact between two players battling for position in pursuit of the puck.  In any case, nobody wants the outcome to result in injury. 


Don’t expect anything from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for this hit.


The Boston Bruins went on to win the game 4-3 in a shootout. Referees were Wes McCauley (#4) and Francois St. Laurent (#8), with Steve Barton (#59) and Mark Shewchyk (#92) on lines.