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Fabbri leaves Canada game following open-ice hit

by Arpon Basu /

MONTREAL -- St. Louis Blues forward prospect Robby Fabbri left a Canadian national junior team scrimmage against the Czech Republic in the third period Friday after taking an open-ice hit from undrafted defenseman Marek Baranek.

Fabbri was skating through the neutral zone at 6:20 of the third when Baranek stepped up and laid an unpenalized hit on him. Fabbri lay on the ice for a few minutes as a scrum ensued and Canada trainers went out on the ice to check on him.

Fabbri eventually got up and needed help to reach the Canadian bench before departing immediately to the dressing room. He did not return to the game.

Canada coach Benoit Groulx had no update on Fabbri's status after the game, which the Czechs won 5-2 to hand Canada its lone defeat in four games of its summer development camp. However, Fabbri was seen using crutches when he left the Ed Meagher Arena on the Concordia University campus.

The game degenerated into a series of penalties following the hit on Fabbri. Anaheim Ducks forward prospect Nick Ritchie was given a high-sticking major at 20:00 of the third period for a post-buzzer hit to the head of Czech defenseman Lukas Klok, who had hit Canada defenseman Aaron Ekblad in a scrimmage Tuesday, giving him a concussion and ending his camp.

Canada had at least one player in the penalty box from the time of the hit on Fabbri to the end of the game, and at one point there were five players in both the Canadian and Czech penalty boxes.

Canada center Connor McDavid, who was playing on a line with Fabbri and created a number of chances for him through the first two periods, said it was difficult to watch him lay on the ice, but he appreciated how the team tried to stick up for their fallen teammate.

"I'm really good buddies with Robby, and it's hard to watch him like that," said McDavid, who got Canada on the board with a highlight-reel breakaway goal at 2:04 of the second period to make it a 3-1 game. "You never want to see a guy get hit like that, it's awful. But that's hockey, I guess. … It just goes to show how close this group has come already, just over the course of the week. That's really important if we want to be a team."

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