The Toronto Maple Leafs paid big money to sign Ryan Reaves this summer, and they did it for one specific reason. No one should be able to play dirty against them, and Reaves, known as one of the toughest guys in the league, would make sure to retaliate if someone did something they shouldn’t.
Reaves was clear about what he wanted to bring to the team, and before the season, he sent a warning to Radko Gudas. When the Maple Leafs were eliminated from last year’s playoffs, Gudas celebrated in the Toronto goalie’s face, which quickly went viral.
Ahead of the season, Reaves said that Gudas wouldn’t dare to do it again with him in the squad.
But this weekend, Timothy Liljegren was a victim of a dirty play by Brad Marchand, as he collided awkwardly with the boards after Marchand looked like he slew-footed the Toronto defenseman.
Liljegren suffered a high ankle sprain and was placed on LTIR, and the Toronto players, especially Ryan Reaves, received harsh criticism for not standing up for their teammates.
The Maple Leafs also signed physical players like Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi, but none responded to Marchand after the play.
But Ryan Reaves explained that he couldn’t do something about it, as the Bruins had the last change. That meant, according to Reaves, that he wasn’t on the ice at the same time as Marchand for the remainder of the game.
”First of all, ’Get away from the bench.’ Second of all, I guess he was lucky I wasn’t out on the ice with him. Yeah, unfortunately they had last chance so I didn’t get any shifts against him,” he said.
But as it turns out, it seems like it was just a bad excuse from Reaves. According to writer Jeff Veillette, Reaves did, in fact, have two shifts where both he and Marchand were on the ice simultaneously after the hit.
Reaves did, therefore, have two opportunities to get back on Marchand, but for some reason, he didn’t.