Derek Boogaard, 1982-2011

Sad.

I remember Boogaard scoring (off a rush!) on Michal Neuvirth last November in a 5-3 loss to the Caps at Madison Square Garden— what would be his only goal as a Ranger, and his first goal since January 2006 (vs. Ilya Bryzgalov), 234 games before. (The NHL record is apparently 255 games between goals, courtesy of Ken Daneyko.) Ranger fans began the Boogaard chant, prompting Joe Beninati on Versus to note, “The fans rain down the boos, positively, for Derek Boogaard.”

Boogaard is currently 2nd in career PM for the Wild with 544 in 255 games (Matt Johnson had 698 in 227 games).

His death (pending autopsy) may underscore the fatal risks of concussions. I also wonder about the fatal risks of being an enforcer in the NHL. Ex-enforcer (and ex-Flyer) Brantt Myhres, quoted in the March 10, 2009 Calgary Herald (actual link no longer works):

They can sit there all they want and claim that’s part of the game. I understand that. I guess, it half-killed me though, being part of the game…There’s the part of hockey fighter and what it does to guys today. There’s the addiction part of it that I struggled with since I was 17. I’m over a year clean and sober now, and unfortunately I had to go through four suspensions and a lifetime ban to get where I am today. A few hospital visits from overdosing and a lot of sleepless nights.

Myhres’ NHL career ended with a broken orbital bone courtesy of Georges Laraque. He notes the rehabs of Chris Simon, Chris Nilan, Brian McGrattan, and Darren McCarty and the deaths of Bob Probert and John Kordic as a few of his fellow casualties. Now, sadly, we have one more.

Update: Some worthwhile comments over at Lowetide.

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