By Brian Monzo
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It’s really tough to come up with thoughts or things to write about someone you don’t know personally when they pass away. When it comes to the tragedy of Rangers forward Derek Boogaard, and the surprising news of his death, it is even harder. It’s not because I didn’t know him, it’s because it seems everyone is speechless. It’s understandable, considering he was just 28-years-old.
He was found dead in his apartment in Minnesota, with no news of a cause. This will surely be determined soon.
Boogaard signed a multi-year deal with the Rangers last July 1st and was expected to be their enforcer. He played five seasons with the Minnesota Wild before coming to New York. At 6’7, 235 lbs, it was no surprise he was nicknamed the ‘Boogeyman.’ He was so big and tough that a lot of players didn’t want to scrap with him.
As a fan, I was excited about adding Boogaard to the team. He was a huge guy that fit a hole in the Rangers lineup. Despite his on ice reputation, his heart was always in the right place. He was involved in charity work and foundations.
He had a rough season with the Rangers, playing only 22 games after dealing with a concussion.
In March, I was doing some work with the NHL and was recording an interview with Mike Russo, a beat writer for the Wild who had developed a friendly relationship with Boogaard. Although Mike wanted to stay and record a second segment, he had to leave because he was meeting Boogaard for coffee. I remembering thinking that it was very cool they remained buddies since he left Minny.
Minutes after the news of his passing, Twitter lit up with messages from Jeremy Roenick, Paul Bissonette, Brandon Prust, Michael Del Zotto, Scottie Upshall and Kevin Weekes.
There was also a Tweet from Brad May — who probably remembers this scrap: Boogaard vs. May
He was only with the Rangers for a short period of time, but I am sure Ranger fans remember this moment: Rangers/Caps – 11/09/10