When Glen Sather originally shelled out a four-year $6.6 million contract for Derek Boogaard there was some question as to how he would be utilized under John Tortorella -- a coach who is known to lean on his "top guys." Boogaard certainly has some value to bring to a hockey team, although that all depends on how he is being used.
Let's be honest about Boogaard for a moment here. He is the scariest player in the NHL, he is a huge hulking presence wherever he goes and thus far this year (in the short ice time we have seen from him) he has proven that he can play and not be a liability. There also seems to be literally no scrums, pushing or even talking from opposing teams while he is on the ice.
The problem, however, is that Tortorella hasn't found a way to utilize him yet. Here is the other thing that you need to take into consideration about Boogaard: he has gotten into no fights yet this year. He hasn't even gotten close. Now that's not his fault, no one is taking the bait and dropping the gloves with the behemoth, and I don't blame them. I would want literally nothing to do with ANY type of altercation with Boogaard.
But then what happens to his role? Him playing three minutes a night is ridiculous, he has use ... if he is used. Join me after the jump for my solution to the problem.
Like I said before, Boogaard has already forced me to put my foot in my mouth by proving that he actually can play hockey. I haven't had a single complaint about his style of play, and the stupid penalties that I assumed came with the package have been nonexistent. He hasn't even come close to doing something stupid on the ice. The same can't be said for others however.
For the aforementioned reasons I see no reason why Boogaard can't get at least five minutes a night, maybe a little more. If the Rangers need a spark -- which they seem to need often these days -- throw Boogaard and Prust on the ice together and see what they can stir up. In his four games Boogaard has racked up three hits, which seems like nothing, but when you think about the amount of ice time he gets it's actually not bad. He can certainly "stir the pot" while he's on the ice and at least get something started for the Rangers.
And while I would never endorse Tom Renney's style of "let's see what Colton Orr and Aaron Voros can do on the power play," I see no problem with Boogaard maybe playing on the third line and just sitting in front of the net. I mean the guy is 260 pounds, he has to be able to throw a heck of a screen, and who is going to move him? I'm not saying this with the expectation that he goes out there and scores 15 goals this year, but it can't hurt to have him there when things aren't going your team's way.
The other idea that I have floating around in my head is a Sean Avery-Brian Boyle-Boogaard line. Yes, both Avery and Boogaard are left wingers, but I somehow doubt that the move to right wing will cause catastrophic results for Boogaard's production.
I love this line because you know Avery will start some form of a scrum on the ice, and not only do you have Boogaard to come in and clean up the mess but you have another hulking figure in Boyle as well. Boyle -- who is skating like the wind and shooting like Marian Gaborik -- and the naturally fast Avery will also do a good job of keeping other teams defenses on their toes. And again, with Boogaard's frame in front of the net, anything is possible.
OK guys, there are a few of my ideas. What do you guys have?