Defenseman Dylan McIlrath was looking to make an impact in the preseason.
Unfortunately, that impact will take the gritty blueliner out of the Caps’ lineup.
McIlrath has been suspended four games – two preseason and two regular season – for an illegal check to the head of Boston Bruins forward Steven Fogarty.
The hit came just 32 seconds into the third period of Sunday’s game – the first of the preseason for both teams. Referees Chris Rooney and Pierre Lambert assessed a match penalty on the play.
From the NHL’s Department of Player Safety:
“McIlrath finishes a high forceful check that cuts across the front of Fogarty’s core, missing the shoulder and making his head the main point of contact on a hit where such head contact was avoidable. “
The NHL rulebook does take into consideration a change in body position by the player receiving the hit, which Player Safety acknowledged.
“While we recognize that Fogarty does lower himself slightly to make a play on the puck, that mvmt does not happen immediately prior to or simultaneous with the hit in a way that significantly contributes to the head contact.”
“If he wants to deliver this hit legally, McIlrath must take an angle that hits through Fogarty’s shoulder and core, and not one that causes the head to be the main point of contact.”
McIlrath has nor previously been fined or suspended by the NHL during his 66-game NHL career.
The NHL suspension does not carry over to the AHL, should McIlrath start the season with the Caps’ AHL affiliate in Hershey.
McIlrath forfeits $7,500 in salary as a result of the ban.