The fight that bonded new Wild teammates Marcus Foligno and Oskar Sundqvist
After taking exception to a high hit, Foligno dropped the gloves in Sundqvist’s honor nearly five years ago
As a player that regularly drops the gloves, Marcus Foligno has always lived by the code: a set of rules that exists in the abstract.
Though it’s more of an unspoken thing, and most players have a hard time explaining the parameters, it’s clear when someone crosses the line.
And if they do, yes, they have to answer for it.
So, while Foligno dropping the gloves with Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson nearly five years ago might’ve seemed like nothing more than a normal fight at the time, there was actually a lot more that went into it.
Foligno took exception to Wilson delivering a high hit on St. Louis Blues winger Oskar Sundqvist during a preseason game leading up to the 2018-19 campaign. That sequence netted Wilson a massive 20-game suspension from the league and sidelined Sundqvist for nearly a month with a concussion.
When the Wild played the Blues a couple of months later, Foligno lined up next to Sundqvist before a faceoff. The high hit still wasn’t sitting right with Foligno and he promised Sundqvist that he was going to take care of it.
“I think Wilson actually came back from suspension against us in Minnesota,” Foligno said. “I was like, ‘I’ve got to keep my word here.'”
That he did. After a goal from longtime captain Mikko Koivu helped the Wild increase the lead, Foligno challenged Wilson to a heavyweight bout at center ice. There were a few haymakers exchanged, both players took a seat in the penalty box, and that was the end of it.
Asked about Foligno standing up for him, Sundqvist replied, “Obviously it shows what kind of guy he is.”
Now, five years later, Foligno and Sundqvist are teammates. In the final hour before the trade deadline last week, the Wild acquired Sundqvist from the Red Wings in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft. It served as a full circle moment for both players.
“We talked about that a little bit on text message,” Foligno said. “He said it’s good to be on my side now.”
A snowstorm prevented Sundqvist from meeting the team in Calgary over the weekend, so he’s set to make his debut for the Wild against the Flames on Tuesday night at Xcel Energy Center.
Fittingly, it looks like the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Foligno will be on the same line as the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Sundqvist.
“We’re a physical hockey club that wants to play that type of a game, and we like that and he is a guy that will fit right in,” coach Dean Evason said when asked about Foligno and Sundqvist playing together. “They should be a handful to look after down low.”
Though it’s unclear how both players will mesh together on the ice, it’s safe to say Foligno has already made a pretty good first impression on Sundqvist off of it.
“I’m happy to be on his team,” Sundqvist said. “Looking forward to playing on the same side as a guy like that.”
This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.