3:11PM: McIlrath spoke with the media today (Rangers) after practice:
- On last night, “it was surreal. That was the most focused I have ever been for a game. It was my dream come true so I wanted to be 100% focused when I came in. During the anthem I had some shivers and getting some first shifts out of the way. By the second and third I felt like I was in the game. I am happy with how it turned out.”
- On his emotions, “I tried to focus on the ice and not look in the crowd that match. I was doing that during the pre game skate and looking at the banners. The guys were great to help me through along the way. I was nervous coming in at the start but once I got some few bumps it felt like a real game. You are in the trenches and battles and being more vocal on the bench to try and get the guys going. It felt pretty effortless in the third being out there.”
- On what he wanted to do “I wanted to bring that physical edginess and help the team win at all costs. I was fortunate to draw a penalty, too bad we didn’t capitalize but I need to do whatever I can to help us win to stay here.”
- On teammate support, “everyone was really supportive. Anyone who came up sat me down and told me to pretend I had been here the whole time. That is how I tried to approach it with the guys helping me along. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
- On NHL moments, “the speed and that you will pay if you make a mistake. I know that I made a rookie mistake with that pinch and it shows how skilled the guys are at the next level. They will bury it if you make a mistake. I learned quickly that the NHL is much harder game and also that everyone is always in the right position so if you can do your job it can be lot easier. too
10:31AM: In his NHL debut last night, Dylan McIlrath played 8:55, had one shot blocked, one hit and was one the ice for one goal against.
His ice time broke down as:
- 3:40 in the first
- 3:13 in the second
- 2:02 in the third.
McIlrath didn’t play the final ten minutes of the third period,. He also drew a high sticking penalty from Brandon Dubinsky.
According to Extra Skater, at 5 on 5, McIlrath was on the ice for 12 attempts for and 8 attempts against with 7 shots on goal for and 7 against.
He started 50% of his even strength shifts in the defensive zone, 20% in the neutral zone and 30% in the offensive zone.
McIlrath said that he was nervous and tried to keep things simple (Ranger Rants).
He adds that his pinch that led to the second Columbus goal was a “rookie mistake.” He said that once he settled down he started making better reads (NY Post).
Adam Rotter: McIlrath played about the way that I expected for a rookie defensemen. He made a crucial mistake, he threw or attempted some hits and saw what it was like to play in the NHL. I think that he should get in at least a couple of more games, some more situations and maybe a fight before, at least I think, his return to Hartford. This is an important part of his development and will help the organization focus more on what he needs to work on to be better and to take a roster spot out of training camp next year.