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Boyle suffers concussion on hit by Neil

by Dave Lozo /

NEW YORK -- Rangers forward Brian Boyle, who leads the team in goals this postseason with three, suffered a concussion during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against Ottawa, a game the Senators won 2-0 to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Boyle was skating through the Senators zone early in the third period when he was hit by Ottawa's Chris Neil after releasing a shot on goal. The check left Boyle down on the ice for several seconds.

There was no penalty called on the hit. Boyle returned to the game several minutes later but eventually left the bench with about two minutes remaining in the game and was diagnosed with a concussion, according to Rangers coach John Tortorella, who also said Boyle is "out" when asked about his status.

Replays showed Neil made contact with both Boyle's upper body and head, and the hit came less than a half-second after Boyle released his shot.

After the game, Neil talked about the hit and felt it was clean.

"He cuts to the middle with his head down," Neil said. "I'm putting back pressure and trying to bust back and get in good position. I'm a physical player out there. I think it's a clean hit. He was slow getting up, but I think I probably just knocked the wind out of him. He's a big man so I think it takes a lot out of me delivering those hits."

When asked if Neil was worried about possibly receiving a suspension, he said he wasn't.

"You have to go out and play the game," Neil said. "Obviously, you don't like to see the suspensions. If it's a dirty one, then yeah. You have to be held accountable for it. But if you're going out and playing the game clean and finishing checks hard and playing hard, that's what it's about."

Tortorella, however, had a different opinion of the hit, comparing it to the hit Raffi Torres of the Coyotes delivered to the head of Chicago's Marian Hossa in Game 4 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series that earned Torres a 25-game suspension.

"They have the blueprint. It's probably the exact same hit as Torres," Tortorella said. "He launches himself, headshot, the puck's at the goal line when he's hit. So the blueprint is there and I'm sure he's a repeat offender. Not too much research to be done there."

Tortorella is allowed his opinion of the play, but Neil has never been suspended by the NHL. He was fined in 2003 for getting into an altercation from the bench.

"I'm not trying to say something smart, but it's just a dangerous, dangerous cheap hit," Tortorella said. "The puck is on the goal line. It's the exact same play as Torres."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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