Both players will likely end up in the minors when the regular season begins, but there was a nasty collision in the Boston Bruins preseason opener against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on Sunday afternoon.
It happened in the third period when journeyman Capitals defenseman Dylan McIlrath drilled Boston Bruins farmhand forward Steven Fogarty with an elbow directly to the chin. A dazed Fogarty needed assistance getting off the ice after the collision and McIlrath was thrown out of the game with a five-minute major and game misconduct for a clear shot to the head.
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It wouldn’t be surprising at all to see McIlrath get a call from the NHL Department of Player Safety given the crackdown expected on hits to the head this season. Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said postgame that they’ll know more about Fogarty’s condition tomorrow.
“He did not come back. Obviously it was a hit to the head and we saw that,” said Cassidy. “He wasn’t able to finish. We don’t want to rush into any diagnosis until [the medical staff] sees him at home, but those ones like that you’re always hoping for the best.”
Fogarty had a hit and won 5-of-13 face-offs in his preseason debut for the Black and Gold prior to absorbing the predatory hit, and McIlrath had three shot attempts and was a minus-1 in 11:10 of ice time before getting tossed from the game. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound McIlrath is the same player that ended David Pastrnak’s playoff run with the Providence Bruins during his second pro season after crunching Pasta against the side boards during the 2015-16 AHL season.
The 28-year-old Fogarty has logged 27 career NHL games with the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres and scored his first NHL goal with the Sabres last season before signing a one-year, two-way contract with the Black and Gold this season. Fogarty had been centering a line with Anton Blidh and Chris Wagner in a fourth line-type role where he’s expected to provide organizational depth at the center position for the Boston Bruins this season. Fogarty was part of a largely young, inexperienced lineup for the Boston Bruins that they brought to the Washington Capitals on Sunday afternoon.